I have recently been in the market for high performance cloud hosting for one of my clients. They needed something a bit more than a cPanel shared hosting account and I needed something that was managed as I didn’t want to get bogged down in system administration tasks
Page speed is important for Google rankings as more and more mobile users are browsing the internet using slow connections. Most of the managed cloud providers I researched were far too expensive and the alternative of an unmanaged cloud server filled me with dread of editing httpd.conf files. I found Cloudways offering a managed service, app installs all for a very reasonable price. Cloudways tap into each cloud providers API to bring easy setup of default apps within a managed infrastructure. Perfect for my requirements.
I signed up to Cloudways on a DigitalOcean trial to see what the service is like and the performance gains. To test this, I used a reference WordPress website on a cPanel Shared account which has a Pingdom (Amsterdam) result of 4.12s load time, with 90 requests and a page size of 1.4MB. I used their free Cloudways Migrator WordPress plugin to copy the site (via BlogVault) to the newly setup servers.
Cloudways with DigitalOcean
This is the most inexpensive offering from Cloudways and provides DigitalOcean ‘Droplets’ with 512MB Ram, 1xCPU, 20GB storage and 1TB Bandwidth for $5/month in a variety of worldwide locations. Pretty impressive so far. I selected a London based server and machine setup was superquick via the Cloudways server admin panel.
Once running I tested the site with Pingdom to see what speed improvements had been made. The DigitalOcean machine responded with a load time of 791ms – that’s a pretty impressive 3.3 seconds improvement. Note this is using Varnish reverse proxy configured with Cloudways recommended settings
Cloudways with Vultr
Vultr servers start at $9/month which is about £75/year – still affordable for my clients. They have a slightly higher spec than DigitalOcean and come with 768MB Ram. The Pingdom test gave me a load time of 701ms which is a saving of 3.4 seconds over the reference site. Note this is using Varnish reverse proxy configured with Cloudways recommended settings
Below is another comparison. This is my site and again it’s using a cPanel shared account which I think i’ve dome a pretty good job of getting the load speed own to 1.53s. On Cloudways, using a DO droplet, this load time is nearly halved to 0.878ms and a perfect 100/100 pingdom performance grade!
Other cloud hosting options
Cloudways also offer AWS and Google Cloud. The difference between these two and DigitalOcean/Vultr is that you can scale down a server.
Email on Cloudways
Email accounts aren’t provided by default in Cloudways, although you can purchase accounts via their RackSpace Email add-on or setup email on Google Apps or Office 365