Today I find myself in an unusual position of having two web hosts.
I have been using WPX Hosting for about 3 years now but have recently also purchased a plan with Cloudways due to a new project. I wanted a separate server from my other sites for the purposes of SEO. This has brought about the perfect conditions for a showdown.
Firstly an introduction to both hosts
WPX Hosting has been making headlines in the WordPress world for a while mainly because of their blazing fast website speeds and also stellar support. If you read pretty much any review online about WPX Hosting they are going to focus on those two things. And for good reason, WPX in the years I have been with them have been fantastic and have gone above and beyond in the area of support even disabling all my 50+ plugins at times to diagnose problems. It’s also good to know that they haven’t only done this once but multiple times too, which as I say is really above and beyond.
Cloudways on the other hand doesn’t promote itself as only for WordPress, like WPX does but they more focus on themselves as a developers best friend for hosting PHP applications like WordPress. They also bill themselves as focused on speed (even developing their own caching plugin) and providing a fully managed experience that scales to your needs based on the load of your servers. If your app gets too popular they give you a heads up that you will need more resources like RAM and CPU and you are good to go.
Now to be honest I have more experience with WPX Hosting than Cloudways having been with them for 3 years but this will in no way hamper the credibility of this comparison because of the testing criteria I’m using.
What is the testing criteria?
Both websites have the default WordPress theme 2017 and the free Beaver Builder plugin (every new WP website needs a page builder).
I will then run it through Pingdom and we can come to a conclusion together.
This battle is focused on speed and anything that contributes to that. At the end of the day this should be your primary focus when choosing a host for WordPress, which is already slower than other platforms. If you are interested in other features of Cloudways vs WPX Hosting make sure to view the pricing and features table further down this post.
Why is speed the primary focus of the test?
Are you convinced yet?
You love WordPress because of all the features and hacks you have learnt to use it as a marketing tool but because you chose it, you now have a speed disadvantage over your competitors who are not using it. So armed with this knowledge you are ready to take back ground and choose the best WordPress hosting for your business.
Let the testing begin
WordPress 4.9.8 being used with all pages and posts removed except for the test post. The Hello Dolly plugin deleted and the Akismet plugin left inactivated. I also had the Beaver Builder plugin activated because a page builder is a must for any new WordPress site.
A page with dummy text and a featured image consisting of the same one used in this post today but at a higher retina image quality for a size of 1.28 megabytes. On this website my plugin ShortPixel would immediately start doing its thing and reducing the file size but on these test websites there is no ShortPixel. On your site I would recommend it.
So with that out of the way let’s look at the results. Click images for bigger size.
What do we see?
Well interestingly we see a rocky start for WPX Hosting with test 1 showing a win for Cloudways by .17 seconds (1.04 seconds vs 1.21 seconds). Very narrow victory but one nonetheless. But then in the remaining two tests we see WPX Hosting taking a commanding lead with speeds up to three times faster than Cloudways as seen in the last result of 324 ms vs 954 ms.
You may have also noticed that the Cloudways site was slightly bigger at 557.5 KB and really not sure why apart from the fact that as mentioned Cloudways do have their own caching plugin Breeze installed when you setup a new website.
I decided to leave Breeze on for Cloudways in the hope of actually seeing that they might win and then explain why and how to fix it with WPX Hosting. As part of their service they will setup W3TC, which is an excellent free caching plugin for WordPress that they know how to get every last drop of performance out of.
So why didn’t I get WPX to install the caching plugin for the results above?
Well because a lot of people when they first signup to a new host might not know to do this, so I wanted an apples vs apples comparison of a brand new website from a new host and how it would perform but even with no caching plugin installed, WPX still won! It really is incredible.
But to be fair to WPX I fired up the chat box and asked them to install W3TC for me with their recommended settings. Three minutes later it’s done and I do the test again.
This time I got a result of 385 ms, 372 ms and this standout result.
So to be brutally honest it’s not a huge difference with caching turned on but this is to be expected for such a basic website post. When you start to add more plugins, images and scripts you will be very thankful for using caching.
But I did notice after caching was turned on that there were no more over 1 second results like the first WPX test, this could be because of caching or just simply a random anomaly in that first test.
Global Test - Sydney Australia
The next thing I wanted to see is how the websites perform for people far away from the servers location. Pingdom has the perfect location in Sydney, Australia to test this and here are the results.
Again another victory for WPX! Not quite three times as fast this time though – thankfully for Cloudways!
WPX vs Cloudways Hosting Pricing
Pay as you go (only charged for resources you use)
Free website migration
Free SSL Certificate
1 Core CPU
WPX Hosting Starter
Host up to 5 websites
Free website migration
Free SSL Certificate
1 Core CPU
A few thoughts on the above
If all it comes down to for you right now is pricing then you may want to go with Cloudways who start from $10 per month. Just remember if your website starts to get popular, that price will rise.
Some of you might be thinking that my comparison is unfair to Cloudways because I chose their $10 server to go against the $25 server from WPX Hosting. First off, WPX Hosting uses a totally different model of charging you for the number of websites you have and not the amount of RAM or CPU you need like Cloudways. Also note that the WPX Server technically on paper would appear worse than Cloudways, with only 128 megabytes RAM vs Cloudways 1 gigabyte. I don’t know how WPX do this but the word focus and WordPress experts comes to mind.
Update: I posed this question about server specs to WPX and they confirmed to me that their servers actually do change based on the plan you choose.
- Business Plan: 128MB Ram and 1 Core CPU
- Professional Plan: 256MB Ram and 1.5 Core CPU
- Elite Plan: 512MB RAM and 2 Core CPU
That was news to me but it’s good to know and makes sense because at each new level you are able to add new websites that need more resources. It does make me wonder what the results would be if you just hosted one website on the Elite Plan? Just imagine!
Which host do I recommend?
It should be clear that WPX Hosting is the clear winner for me in terms of performance.
Not only is it fast but I have first hand experience of their customer support where nothing is ever too much trouble. They also recently introduced WPX Cloud (A CDN) which makes the website load fast all around the world. You get this for free as part of their service which is highly unusual for a website host to do but very welcome!
But there are reasons to choose Cloudways over WPX Hosting:
Firstly, if you need more storage space for less money, you are getting 25GB vs WPX at 10GB. This also applies to bandwidth where you get a whopping 10X to give you a total of 1TB vs WPX at 100GB. Definitely something to keep in mind but I imagine if you started to go over 100GB bandwidth, you might need to upgrade your Cloudways server which would cost a bit more. Play around with the pricing sliders at Cloudways here if you need clarification on this.
And finally if you are wanting to do more than just WordPress, you would want to use Cloudways. WPX only provide support on WordPress and they limit the amount of websites you can run, with Cloudways there are no such limits. So if you are a developer who needs a lot of instances of PHP applications then Cloudways is for you.
So in all honesty there are reasons for choosing both but still for my uses WPX wins.
Sign Up to WPX Hosting
now with wpx cloud CDN
WPX or Cloudways Coupon or Discount?
At this time there is no coupon for Cloudways (they do run offers on their homepage from time to time) but I do have one for you for WPX to save 25% off your first month. Just click the link below to be taken straight to the offer.
And as always if you do decide to purchase anything from me I will include a bonus of your choice – see below.
If you decide to purchase you can choose ONE of our premium bonus packs for WPX or Cloudways. We have lined up some great gift packs in the following categories.
- Website and Graphic Design
- Affiliate Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Conversion and analytics
- Video Marketing
- SEO Marketing
- Social Media
- Webmaster Tools
- Marketing and PR