LiteSpeed Hosting as
Cloudways Alternative

  • Select the hosting plan with the LiteSpeed Web server and NVMe SSD storage
  • Choose a shared server geographically close to your visitors
  • Don’t go for the Cloudways hosting services – it is the worst value for money
  • Study the list of standard software suite which is provided in this report
  • Recognise that in the current market, the hosting provider size is its liability
  • Further analysis of the hosting providers can be found in our separate report
  • In the US or Europe, host your website with MechanicWeb or HostXnow – the best value providers
Our main research article (this post) provides a quick overview of the best hosting options currently on the market. The following posts continue our research article.
  • Part 1. We give a detailed overview of the standard software options offered by all reasonable LightSpeed web hosting providers. Before you choose your hosting, you should read this chapter!
  • Part 2. You might read the detailed chapter explaining the questionable schemes used by Cloudways and its affiliate community to misrepresent their services.
  • Part 3. We explain the technical details of our benchmarking study. Read it if you want to quickly test the actual quality of hardware resources provided by your hosting provider.
  • Part 4. Covers advanced hosting options for extremely busy websites. You should study this chapter if you are determined to switch to VPS hosting.

No Time to Read? No Problem!

Different WordPress groups on Facebook have the perfect symbiosis and coordination. This is teamwork. Some “experts” will try to convince you to switch to the “best” shared hosting plan with slow hardware, while others will try to convince you that there is nothing faster and more secure (sic!) than an unmanaged Vultr HF VPS on Cloudways. In both cases, affiliate fees are collected by misleading the unsuspecting public and convincing it to switch to the wrong service provider.
Many users are surprised to learn that there is a third option: Premium Shared Hosting providers with hardware much better than unmanaged VPSs. With cPanel, server-level malware protection, and LiteSpeed Enterprise, you get a much more secure experience and faster website loading speed from Premium Shared Hosting. For WooCommerce sites, the benefit is even greater. The best providers may not have an army of affiliate warriors behind them, but that does not mean their services are any less attractive.
Here is everything you need to know about Cloudways but were afraid to ask:
  • In the admin area on the Server Management > Vertical Scaling tab, Cloudways states that “the 1 GB and 2 GB plans are for testing purposes and are suitable for staging websites. For production websites, 4 GB (or higher) is required. “
  • Vultr, Linode, and DO advise against using their cheap shared vCPU plans for production websites, especially eCommerce websites.
  • A third-party auditor has never tested for security vulnerabilities in the Cloudways platform created by obscure software developers. It is a wonder why the army of affiliate scammers ignores the fact that Cloudways software most likely has a large-scale security problem?
  • Unlike the rest of the hosting industry, Cloudways does not offer malware scanning or malware protection. Cloudways instructs its customers to sign up for Sucuri’s subsidised subscription for $10 per month; any extra domain will be charged $16.5 per month.
  • Affiliates know it’s easy to hack unprotected Cloudways accounts. They recommend opening multiple small Cloudways accounts of 1GB each, so you do not put all your eggs in one basket.
  •  In advocating Cloudways, the affiliates encourage people to use their services outside of the technical specifications provided by Cloudways and its vendors. This is a reckless and unprofessional approach.
  • If you choose best providers for the  LiteSpeed Web Enterprise shared hosting, you can handle up to ten times more peak traffic for the same price.
  • Some Premium Shared Hosting providers offer hardware that is 90% faster than iconic Vultr HF.
  • Aside from the fact that Cloudways does not offer email hosting, its technical support is mediocre, and the platform does not provide root access
  • You are not alone in your struggle to understand why anyone should be continuously advised to use cheap shared vCPU plans served with expensive deficient software lacking key security features!
The article takes 60 minutes to read
Last modified on July 2nd, 2022


First of all, congratulations on this well-written article. It is very thorough and comprehensive!
I think the most important question customers should ask themselves is how “managed” they want their hosting solution to be. The definition of “managed hosting” varies from company to company. At my company WPAligned, we focus on agency owners. We’re geared for business to business and we use LiteSpeed. Most of our clients do not want to manage the hosting platform themselves.
In my experience, there is no perfect hosting solution, there is only a perfect solution for a particular client.
Congratulations again on this article!
In August 2021, Google has updated its algorithms to include Page Experience metrics based on Google’s Core Web Vitals. It was a significant change that has an impact on ranking. Things like First Contentful Paint (FCP), Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), Flashes of Unstyled Content (FOUC), Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) are creating a nightmare of optimisation concerns for web designers. This new ranking signal results in a sudden and urgent shift towards page load speed optimisation, lightweight HTML, CSS, and reduced JS payloads.
But the actual picture is more complicated – the page loading time of many websites is pushed further up because of the wrong choice of the hosting providers. The classical cycle of blame, the Hosting provider – Caching plugins – Web page building tool – Web designer – Hosting provider, requires optimisation of each part of the chain.
This post provides some ideas for optimising your website’s performance by correctly choosing your hosting provider and associated infrastructure.
Disclaimer: Our readers are always welcome to write to us about the bits they disagree with. We welcome corrections and revisions. It goes without saying that the field does not remain static over time. So, please don’t hesitate to offer your corrections if you think other readers will benefit from them!

Executive Summary

What to expect from this study

Cloudways is often perceived as a provider of advanced hosting services that can offer professionals the best performance. If you read our study, you will see that Cloudways excels in dubious marketing, but its services are not the best. The other hosting providers offer almost twice as fast hardware, but their services are four times less expensive.
Cloudways is NOT the be-all to end-all hosting opportunities. It just happens to be the flavor-of-the-month. Until it isn’t. There are tons of other great options, with good customer service and better features.
Do some more research and don’t blindly go into the Cloudways herd. Cloudways, similar to Siteground, just has armies of affilates and marketing people – the others are busy providing great services. I will never go back to Cloudways, scaling is ridiculously and unnecessarily expensive.
LiteSpeed Web Server has fundamentally changed the web hosting industry in the last few years. The LiteSpeed Cache plugin is one of the best site acceleration plugins and is offered on LiteSpeed web hosting for free. LiteSpeed Cache Engine includes a server-level cache and a collection of optimisation features. Today, it is much easier to choose the right web host:
  • First and foremost, they should offer new standard software like CloudLinux CageFS, LiteSpeed, cPanel, Imunify360, ModSecurity, and MailChannels.
    • CSF with ImunifyAV+ and KernelCare might be a better combo than Imunify360. The addition of the CSF Server Firewall complements nicely ModSecurity, which is a Web Application Firewall.
    • CXS can further replace ImunifyAV+, but it should only be used by a sysadmin team that is experienced in configuring antimalware software.
    • For small VPS instances, Bitninja might be a good choice. You will face higher CPU server loads with Imunify360. Also, Bitninja offers better customer support, but Imunify360 is more polished.
  • The second aspect to consider is the speed of the hosting provider’s hardware. The spread in the current market is at least four (!) times, so these are not marginal differences.
  • Thirdly, you should make sure that the sysadmin of your hosting provider is able to eliminate various internal delays that slow down the database response.
LiteSpeed appriasal
What is the real benefit of LiteSpeed over NGINX?
The #1 reason for me is the free LiteSpeed Cache plugin. It is a freakin amazing plugin with dozens of performance features to speed up your site in so many ways. This plugin alone is what separates LiteSpeed from Nginx.
The LiteSpeed Cache plugin has so many features that cost money in other plugins. Let’s not forget about LiteSpeed’s CDN (which easily integrates with the LS Cache plugin) and caches your HTML at the edge.
Our benchmark study results show that you can check the performance of your web hosting plan with a few free plugins running under WordPress. Even more, benchmarking plugins for WordPress can provide an assessment of hardware speed and sysadmin capabilities. Our article discusses several FREE plugins and presents benchmarks for different hosting providers. Our review explains how to interpret the benchmark results. You can use our performance tables to quickly evaluate your current web hosting provider.
It is also possible to find out the name of your server’s CPU and its current clock speed using a simple PHP script, which is easily accessible via GitHub. By detecting the change in the results of PHP tests during the day and night, you can determine if your hosting servers are overcrowded.
AMD EPYC 75×2 Zen 2 servers are now the base of Linode and DO’s flagship offerings of enterprise servers. Xeon Intel has lost the battle to AMD EPYC. Several shared hosting providers, like Brixly in the UK, also offer AMD EPYC 75×2. The newest Zen 3 AMD EPYC 75×3 and AMD EPYC 74×3 servers are 25% faster. They have just arrived at Vultr’s data centres. The Google Cloud Tau VMs based on EPYC Zen 3 is delivering a 50% improvement over Intel servers. AMD EPYC Zen 3 is becoming more common in data centres in the EU, the US, and the UK. Servers based on the Zen3 AMD Ryzen 9 5950x CPU are faster and significantly cheaper but have a lower CPU count of 16 cores (32 logical cores). These CPUs are 30% faster than AMD Zen 3 EPYC, and they are on par with Intel Xeon E-2388G servers with eight cores (16 logical cores). If you want the fastest and most affordable shared hosting, choose a provider with AMD Ryzen 9 5950x, cPanel, CloudLinux, and LiteSpeed Enterprise.
Cloudways - eye opener

Cloudways is deceiving its customers

Cloudways’ support team forwarded our question “Is your panel undergoes an external security audit?” to Mr. Maaz, Lead Security Engineer at Cloudways. Mr. Maaz had replied: “we have not conducted the audit.” We do not doubt that Cloudways has strict internal procedures in place to demonstrate compliance with the GDPR. However, in Europe, where most agencies do not use CDN services due to ePrivacy concerns, using software panels that have not been validated by external security experts seems dubious and is much more likely to lead to litigations.
You can find security-hardened software panels like cPanel and DirectAdmin with multiple hosting providers. These platforms are continuously audited by third parties for security vulnerabilities. A careless decision to use a dubious, unproven software like Cloudways with a clear history of compromised accounts is a negligence on the part of website owners. Clearly, e-commerce website owners are responsible for any damage caused to their customers by their careless decision to use an unproven software.
As a result of a request from Cloudways, we had an hour-long phone call with their US marketing manager and developers from Pakistan to discuss our article. We have repeatedly advised Cloudways that a security audit is required. As an example, we cited the experience of another Pakistani team behind CyberPanel. It took three years for Usman Nasir’s CyberPanel to pass Rack911 Lab’s security audit. The list of problems was long, and Rack911’s opinion was relatively low, to begin with. Unfortunately, our security arguments were not taken seriously. During this conversation, it became evident that Cloudways developers were unaware that CPU resources were subject to fair use policies by the vendors. Why would you want to trust Cloudways with your security if they were ignorant of such basic information about their hardware vendors?
Cloudways provides hosting that is way overpriced and offers restricted shared hardware resources. In general, most hosting providers offer both cheap shared hosting plans, inexpensive VPS with shared CPU resources,  and expensive VPS hosting plans with dedicated CPU resources. This is also true for Vultr, DO and Linode. Their shared vCPU plans are affordable and starting at $5 per month. They also offer dedicated vCPU plans starting at $30 at Linode, from $40 at DO, and $60 at Vultr.
Shared vCPU plans were initially introduced for professional developers testing new web applications that were not yet in production. All vendors recommend limiting such plans to low-traffic sites. Developers who require root access will be fine with using shared vCPU VPS plans. Cloudways does not permit root access on their platform, however. Cloudways offers VPS accounts with shared CPU resources and without root access. It is a decent but expensive shared hosting plan disguised as something else.
The vast majority of Cloudways users have no idea what shared vCPU is. They think they are buying a dedicated CPU. They will be shocked to learn that many cloud hosting providers will offer up to 8 shared vCPUs per CPU core. vCPUs are not the same as physical processors. They represent allocated time on a thread of the physical CPU. Modern processors have two threads per CPU core. The hypervisor software schedules the vCPUs based on the available threads in the processor, allowing you to have more vCPUs than you have threads in the processor. Hosting companies are free to add even more vCPUs per physical core to oversell and dilute CPU performance. This means that there is no standard at all.
If your neighbours do not use their vCPUs allocation, you get 100% of the physical CPU for your process (please be aware that it will be time-limited). However, do not be surprised if you get far less performance when your neighbours wake up from idle. vCPUs can be queued by the hypervisor and wait for a free thread on the physical core before they can be processed. If only one thread uses the CPU core, it has all the resources to itself. If two threads use the same CPU core, their performance drops by about 35%. If you have additional queuing time for your processes, vCPU performance drops even more. Detail description of performance expected on shared vCPU plans is provided by us in a separate chapter.
The correct wording on the Cloudways website should be “All vCPUs on and above 2GB RAM plan are 30% dedicated & 100% burstable; vCPU on a 1GB RAM plan is only 15% dedicated”. Your server may become overcrowded with Cloudways cowboys who think they can all use 100% of their vCPUs. This can cause drastic slowdowns for everyone. As a result, you will lose the ability to use burstable allowances, and your account will only have access to the dedicated vCPU portion. It is wise to keep your continuous vCPU usage below 50% of your dedicated vCPU allowance on an overcrowded server in order to handle spike loads. Therefore, you should limit your CPU usage to 7.5% on plans with 1 GB RAM and 15% on higher-tier plans.
The majority of shared web hosts described in our article ensure that your server will be underutilised so that you can still access burstable CPU resources. Their semi-dedicated shared accounts are designed for 15% to 20% dedicated CPU load, but they will offer 3 to 4 times more burstable CPUs on plans priced similarly to Cloudways. HostXNow and MechanicWeb offer plans with almost twice the CPU speed as Vultr HF. You will be able to run much busier websites on their semi-dedicated shared hosting plans.
No low-cost VPS provider will sell you a dedicated CPU core for a few dollars a month. I have clients that I manage on VultrHF and DigitalOcean. It’s interesting how often, when you first spin up the Cloudways plan, things are running fast and great. Then, a month or two later, the CPU steal is through the roof, and the CPU performance goes down the drain. I often migrate users like that from Cloudways to our shared servers, and customers see an immediate improvement in page load speed.
Cloudways hides information about the shared nature of hardware resources.  However, you can find it in its management panel under the Server Management > Vertical Scaling tab. It states that the 1 GB and 2 GB plans are for testing purposes and are suitable for staging websites. Production sites must be served by 4 GB plans ($50 per month) or higher. You can access Cloudways’ management panel only after you sign up for one of their plans. You will have a hard time finding a similar wording on the Cloudways website!
Small print in red reads:
Recommended: 4GB (or higher) for production website(s).
2 or 1GB is for staging website(s).
The incorrect wording used on Cloudways’ website when describing service offerings leads users to believe they are signing up for dedicated CPU VPS, when in fact, they are signing up for shared vCPU plans.
One of our readers, Erik Klok, contacted Cloudways sales to verify if the above claim was valid. The shocking lie he received in response makes even the most cynical used-car salesman blush:
“We provide dedicated servers that come with neat IP that has not been used in any shared environment. The droplet is dedicated. The disk is only for them, the CPU is for this Droplet, we generate specific new machines and we launch all resources from zero.”
The reader of our article should open and read the definition of a dedicated Droplet provided by DigitalOcean. All Droplets offered by Cloudways are called basic Droplets. With a basic Droplet, you get a shared virtual CPU. A dedicated Droplet with dedicated CPU resources (number of vCPUs is equal to the number of threads in the processor) is available starting at $40 per month. Dedicated plans on Vultr also offer dedicated CPUs, but they start at $60 per month and are served by much slower hardware.
Speed and TTFB is not the only thing you should care about. Customer service, security, reliability, price and features are also important factors.
I have tried Cloudways in the past, and the WP performance was abysmal and the support was non existent.
People think that Cloudways provide hosting, but they do not. They are simply reselling other companies’ unmanaged shared CPU VPS hosting and slapping a management interface on top of it. That seems to be pretty much all they do.
Here is an analogy. Consider DigitalOcean, Linode, and Vultr as the best-known brands for advanced gaming laptops with dedicated graphics cards. At some point, they all decided to release a cheap version of the office laptop – without a dedicated graphics card. Shady companies resell cheap office laptops but call them “gaming laptops” and charge much more than the office laptops are usually worth. Social media is full of exciting reviews from affiliates about how fast they can run a Solitaire game on these special edition “gaming laptops”. Many people buy these computers after reading such reviews.
Are you actually getting ‘dedicated’ server resources with CLOUDWAYS or is it yet another HOSTING SCAM?
In the hosting industry, there is quite a con going on with ‘dedicated’ VPS resources. The general consensus is that a VPS is always better than shared hosting because you supposedly have dedicated CPU and dedicated RAM. Anyone repeating this naive nonsense to you is frankly ignorant of the technical and financial realities of Web hosting!
As you read our full report, you will find that most VPS plans offer shared CPU resources. The best plans will offer shared CPU, but dedicated RAM and disk space. The worst plans will provide shared RAM and disk space – the same as ordinary shared hosting. The popular providers of unmanaged dedicated CPU VPS accounts is Linode, Vultr, DO, UpCloud, Hetzner, OVH, AWS, and Google. When other VPS providers offer dedicated CPUs, they will emphasise that fact explicitly. Cloudways does not offer dedicated CPU plans, but it is very vague about this.
Regarding Cloudways – I can say that they are blocked in some places where web hosting discussions happen due to shills pushing their services as a solution to every problem even when it clearly doesn’t make sense. I’ve only personally heard bad things but they weren’t my direct experiences so I won’t share them.
ALWAYS maintain your own off-provider backups no matter who your provider is or what they promise. You’ll be pretty well insulated from even the worst providers and disaster.

Cloudways compromises security

Cloudways is misrepresenting its shared vCPU plans, but that’s not the only problem. In contrast to the other hosting providers listed in this article, Cloudways does not provide default protection against malware. 94% of hacked websites are powered by WordPress. The compromised security of Cloudways plans is not known to most users who go along with Cloudways’ marketing hype. This is a red flag for professionals, who know that WordPress security plugins are no good – proper protection against malware and ransomware can only be achieved at the server level.
Do you really need a WordPress security plugin?
My personal opinion? Yes and no. I see tons of people still getting hacked with security plugins installed. WordPress security plugins SUCK! Most of their features suck.
  • They slow down your site.
  • They can’t secure/detect everything.
  • They cost money.
  • They give a false sense of security (BIGGEST OFFENSE).
GDPR compliance depends on how well you protect EU customers’ personal data from ransomware attacks. Cloudways offers paid Sucuri subscriptions for $10 per month for the first domain; all other domains will cost $16.5 per month per domain. If you do not find this offer, which is well hidden on Cloudways’ website, you could be accused of not taking personal data protection seriously. Failure to comply with the GDPR can result in a fine of up to 4% of your annual turnover.
Choosing a hosting provider is one of the most critical decisions.  The most overlooked issue is  Security and Malware. Keeping WordPress safe from hackers is a challenge. Compared to other web platforms, it requires careful maintenance.
What basic level of security does your potential host offer, and how does it help you protect your files and information? Does it offer a service to help you clean your files and databases from infections? Is there a charge for this service? How long does it take to get rid of the infection after the incident is reported?
It is advisable to find out about these timeframes and costs before you decide to host your website(s) with this provider!
Mark Borst
Mark Borst
Ignorant Cloudways Affiliate scammers often recommend to rely only on regularly updating all plugins and WordPress core files. Let us use an anlogy. Do you agree that the lack of antivirus software on your PC can be compensated for by automatically updating the Windows core files? Most people will say that you need to use both.
Malware Attacks…
Malicious Server Attacks…
High usage of CPU…
These last few days has been hell…
Even though Cloudways always helps me handle the issues, I have a strong feeling it’s going to continue & I can’t keep this up, it’s too stressful.
Anna Pepe
Anna Pepe
The most sophisticated affiliates recommend the free Wordfence as the only malware protection. Wordfence’s mission-critical updates are released to free users 30 days after they are released to premium users. Also, free users do not have access to the real-time IP blacklisting feature. For personal websites, free Wordfence is a compromised choice. However, it does not meet your needs if you are hosting a business website or an eCommerce website. The paid version of Wordfence costs virtually the same as the discounted version of Sucuri offered by Cloudways.
An analogy can be drawn here. You need a bank vault. Most banks hire a security company (Imunify360 / ModSecurity) to fix the vulnerable firmware in the electronic locks of the safe deposit boxes as soon as problems are discovered. One new dodgy bank (Cloudways) does not offer this service. The fine print offers its customers subsidised but still costly direct services from another security company (Sucuri). Affiliate bank vault experts strongly advise you to use the excellent services provided by the dodgy bank. They also recommend that you subscribe to the free promotional assistance of the latest security company (Wordfence), which will fix your electronic locks 30 days after a lock security breach is announced. What words would you use to describe the affiliate  expert’s professional background?
Jim Walker
Jim Walker, fixing hacked websites at
Through, I have provided malware and hack repair services to quite a few Cloudways customers over the past few years. I have always wondered why Cloudways is so “popular”. Their creative affiliate marketing is not new, but their services are not modern either.
You should be a tech-savvy person who can handle primitive control panels and email-only non-responsive customer service. Cloudways’ $10 per month plan provides you with 0.5GB RAM to serve a simple website with above-average storage requirements.
For a similar monthly fee, you can easily find a LiteSpeed / cPanel shared hosting service that is more suitable for small businesses. Such services are much easier to use and less costly in the long run, leaving with fewer customers.
Hosting companies will go the extra mile to solve general WordPress-related problems, and most have satisfied customers with many positive online reviews. Prices for shared hosting services range from $10 to $20 per month and offer a good level of technical resources for high-traffic websites. If you opt for it, you’ll enjoy LiteSpeed Cache with HTTP/3, which comes in handy for optimising the speed of your website.

LiteSpeed is cutting-edge technology

LiteSpeed has created a new ecosystem with its enterprise software LiteSpeed Web Server, LiteSpeed Cache for WordPress, and CDN for the fast delivery of assets, including HTML, to end-users. You will get at least 10% or more efficiency gain on busy servers with LiteSpeed Web Server; LiteSpeed Cache is a better free alternative to paid WP Rocket for optimising your site’s page speed rating; and CDN offers the best, most sophisticated HTML edge delivery available.
LS cache is the real deal! The fastest growing cache plugin right now. I think it’s so incredible that a webserver company decided to write their own cache plugin and release it to the public for free. They’re probably more qualified than anyone else as WordPress caching should be done at the server-level before code-level. For many people (beginners and pros alike), LS cache is the gold standard…their holy savior in the world of cache plugins. LS cache (when used with LS server) has the advantage of Varnish and could outperform any other caching. LS cache’s advanced settings can really shine if you know how to use them, especially private cache and ESI. That’s some cutting-edge stuff. I can’t believe they would do that for free!
LiteSpeed Cache is a full-page cache for a website’s dynamically-generated pages and a site-optimization plugin. This article does not address the modern battle of caching plugins to speed up the rendering of your website in the browser. Our separate, very popular study describes the best techniques implemented so far by various caching plugins to improve your Core Web Vitals score. Feel free to take the time to study our research to appreciate the value that the completely free LiteSpeed Cache plugin offers. There is no better option for web designers among a multitude of other paid plugins!
I’ve been using NameHero in the US and Krystal in the UK for a few years now. Both use LiteSpeed Enterprise. My clients’ sites are much faster than with the previous hosting, which used Nginx. I was able to get A grades on GTmetrix, and the sites feel noticeably faster. LiteSpeed and LSCache are regularly updated by the developers, which further improves performance. I wouldn’t go back to Nginx. LiteSpeed is the way to go for sure. LSCache 4.4 came out the other day, which offers more optimisations to increase speed.
Thank you so much for your comment, Jon! We recommend you try MechanicWeb’s servers in Dallas, LA, London, or Germany if you want your web hosting to be twice as fast. If you are looking for a UK provider, you should try HostXNow which has servers in London and Washington. MechanicWeb and HostXNow spend much less on marketing but offer much better hardware and fine-tuned software compared to NameHero and Krystal Hosting.
LiteSpeed Cache on WordPress can be used to its fullest only if your hosting provider installs the LiteSpeed Web Server Enterprise software. If you want to take full advantage of LiteSpeed, you should move your website to an appropriate hosting provider. LS Cache plugin is an interface to the LiteSpeed Cache Engine already installed on the server by your hosting provider. The Cache Engine is waiting for your settings (including activation). So, you need to load and activate LS Cache plugin.
I have hosting with LiteSpeed and Cloudways so I can write about my experience. I am a web designer working with clients from different countries. If I do not know any good local LiteSpeed hosting companies, I choose Cloudways. My experience shows that LiteSpeed is far superior to Cloudways. Oxygen Builder works better with LiteSpeed Cache. To compare both hosting options, I have a specific example. I had an Oxygen website on Cloudways with a PSI speed of 75 after all optimizations using WP Rocket. The client was unhappy. I have built many websites with the same toolset hosted on LiteSpeed servers using LiteSpeed cache. Each time I have achieved a score of more than 90 with the PSI test. So I am pretty sure LiteSpeed servers with LiteSpeed cache are the better solution! If I have the opportunity to work on LiteSpeed servers, I will never use Cloudways.

Fast modern servers runs twice as fast

Many small hosting companies have adopted this new ecosystem. Some enthusiastic companies offer LiteSpeed along with the most advanced server hardware currently available.  MechanicWeb offers Zen 3 AMD Ryzen 9 5950x with turbo speed up to 4.4 GHz and ECC DDR4-3200 RAM. HostXNow offers Ryzen 9 5900x from servers in the UK and USA.
A server-grade system is not good without ECC memory. A corrupted database record is not something you want in an eCommerce environment. That is why professional data centers offer ECC memory on servers wih Ryzen CPU. Without ECC RAM, servers are only suitable for hosting gaming servers or for hosting brochure websites.
Hosting plans from HostXNow and MechanicWeb outperform Vultr HF 4GB on Cloudways in every single CPU Core benchmark measured by benchmark measurement plugins like WPPerformanceTester and WPBenchmark. Overall, their speed is much higher than the best Vultr HF plans on Cloudways. MechanicWeb and HostXNow offer 92% faster speed on Ryzen Zen 3. According to the Performance vs. Price chart, MechanicWeb offer 10 times better value than Cloudways – nearly three times more traffic for a quarter of the cost of Cloudways.
In the graph, the performance value represents the number of visitors per second that can be served by the plan with a fresh installation of WordPress, Elementor and Hello Theme. We remove all caching layers. Traffic is measured using K6 load test.
Another more readily available choice offered by various Data Centers is the Xeon E-2136  (EthernetServers) with 6 CPU cores, 4.5GHz Turbo and DDR4-2666 ECC memory. These servers are better than some Vultr HF 2 GB servers on Cloudways, but you can find deals that are six times cheaper than 2 GB Cloudways plans at companies like EthernetServers or HostMantis.
According to some benchmarks, the performance of the Xeon E-2288G CPU is at least 30% better than that of the Xeon E-2136. Yet data operation has improved by nearly three times between these two models, which were introduced just a year apart under the same Coffee Lake family. There is a 60% difference in PHP performance between the two models. The introduction of E-2288G processors has resulted in a significant improvement in Intel performance for WordPress hosting. Vultr is trying to add more E-2288G servers to its data centers . All dedicated vCPU plans on Vultr are deployed on outdated and slow E3-1270v6 servers. In the near future they will be upgraded to E-2288G servers or AMD EPYC 7443P Zen 3 servers, which are already overtaken by Ryzen 9 5950x and E-2388G.

AMD EPYC servers are not as fast as they claim

AMD EPYC servers improve CPU density per server, reducing software licensing costs and data centre space rent per end-user. Estimated savings of about 30% per visitor request are reflected in cheaper hosting plans. With CPU core frequencies around 3 GHz, AMD EPYC hosting is less powerful than the options shown above but matches Vultr HF and DO Premium Intel servers offered by Cloudways. DigitalOcean and Linode are using AMD EPYC Zen 2 as their premium servers.
I recommend you read this in-depth article explaining hosting technologies, options, pricing, etc.
The language and focus on Cloudways are a bit extreme but factually accurate. I spent a few days researching every aspect, and it’s all checks out, even the recommendation for MechanicWeb – there is no managed hosting that compares in terms of performance and price. I use a cheaper, unmanaged VPS at Runcloud for my development site. Still, I will probably switch to MechanicWeb when I launch my production site to have it configured and maintained by people who know what they are doing.
Nick Chomey
Nick Chomey
Web Dev
In fact, several well-known LiteSpeed hosting companies such as NameHero, A2Hosting, and Krystal Hosting use AMD EPYC Zen 2 servers, but none of them have had success in providing adequate performance to their users.
A2Hosting and Krystal Hosting limit their users’ disk speeds to a ridiculously low 4 MB /s. By using a dedicated database server with very high latency, Krystal Hosting further degrades the performance of each database call.
A2Hosting and NameHero use the cheapest AMD EPYC 7302 Zen 2 server. Any test related to processing math or PHP code on this CPU yields poor results. In most benchmarks, the AMD EPYC 7502 Zen 2 server is 50% faster. Based on their performance, you will assume that the 7302 server is an early botched attempt that was finally replaced by the 7502 after several years of development. However, both AMD processors were released at the same time.
Jonn Mc
Jonn Mc, Web Developer
Every now and then you find a hero online. WebWhim is one. They do not have the superpower of being brief, but they offer tremendous value – and for free. I have learned a lot, I have profited. Tried and tested, and a day later started switching my hosting from a strong, battle-tested SSD NGINX host to the latest one WebWhim talks about. Results so far?
  1.  I can bloat pages with more effects and still keep them under 1 second. Test results are less volatile on the lower end. There are no more spikes
  2. TTFB from a good 160-210ms to a fantastic 70-90ms.
  3. Number of parallel connections has exploded. I can work much faster on the backend, even with Elementor build sites. Less waiting. I can get things done faster.
Most small businesses want hosting that is reasonably fast at a reasonable budget. Most of us do not know what we are buying because important information is not provided. Some companies go out of their way, but others are simply misleading. They share the spoils of an inferior product with their affiliates. It would be a scandal if it was a Diesel. You could be stuck with inferior hosting, wasting hours of your life and money trying to solve things.
WebWhim is spot on when it comes to what hosting you should choose for WordPress in 2022. A great gift for anyone who can read. Thank you, WebWhim.
You should consider Infinity plus Brixly’s plans using AMD EPYC 7502 Zen 2 servers hosted in the UK for a proper implementation of AMD EPYC Zen 2 servers for LiteSpeed web hosting.
AMD EPYC Milan servers (Zen 3) offers a further performance boost. The new AMD EPYC 7543 is about 25% faster than EPYC 7502, and its performance is very close to the one provided by Xeon E-2288G. We believe that AMD EPYC 7543 and EPYC 7443 will become the optimal processor for large scale servers in the next few years. Vultr has already selected AMD EPYC 7743 for future upgrades of its hardware mix. OVH is offering AMD EPYC 7413, which is the best current option for the shared hosting providers.  There is quite a shortage of new AMD EPYC processors due to their higher performance. Some companies like NameHero have been dragging their feet on upgrading to EPYC Zen 3 servers.  Yet, companies like StablePoint have been able to find a way to move to EPYC Zen 3 in most of the 20 destinations they offer. Asia region is the most challenging, so far StablePoint has EPYC Zen 3 servers only in Singapore. You should check with your hosting provider to determine the exact processor model included in your plan, as AMD EPYC can imply an older generation like 7302 with simply pathetic performance.
Why do we use hosting servers? The answer is simple: to host our websites. But there are so many hosting service providers, how do you choose one? Well, for that, we need to consider some key things like: 1- Performance, 2- Pricing, and 3- Security.
I would say that this article is a gem, an eye-opener (even for professionals) and a true friend when it comes to choosing a hosting server. The research is rich in valuable information, but at the same time, it’s free. I want to give a big shout out to the people behind this research. Hats off to you guys. I can not thank you guys enough for providing us with so much helpful information.
It is interesting to compare the performance of NameHero’s current EPYC Zen 2 7302 server with that of Nexcess’ AMD EPYC Zen 2 7502 server (see the second table below). Nexcess is part of Liquid Web, and NameHero uses Nexcess’ servers to serve its own customers. A very similar setting performed by the same unprofessional sysadmin are used for both companies. In both the Database section of the WP Benchmarking plugin and the WP Performance section of the WPPerformanceTester plugin, the results for their servers are nearly identical and rather dull.
NameHero has abandoned their plans for upgrading to EPYC Zen 3. This was a wrong decision by NameHero because their 7302 servers were outdated even before they were released.  The math calculations and string manipulations improve almost threefold when you switch from Zen 2 EPYC 7302 (16 cores) to Zen 2 EPYC 7502 (32 cores) servers. Compare NameHero’s and A2Hosting’s (EPYC 7302) with Brixly’s and Nexcess’s (EPYC 7502) data in the tables below to verify it.  In the PHP processing benchmarks, EPYC 7502 shows a 50% improvement over EPYC 7302. Do not treat these servers as equals!
NameHero is known for providing great customer service. However, we don’t recommend to follow affiliate scammers’ recommendations to switch to NameHero. Affiliates get paid up to $125 by NameHero for referring paying customers and do not care about things like slow server hardware.

The new AMD Ryzen Zen 3 is truly incredible

The AMD EPYC platform, contrary to popular beliefs on the web, is still relatively slow.  You should be aware of the big performance difference between AMD EPYC and AMD Ryzen servers. If you are looking for a fast server response time, watch out for the long TTFB response time in our tests for NameHero, and Brixly (please refer to the table below). For the same uncached site, MechanicWeb’s Ryzen Zen 3 server showed much lower TTFB. Your visitors will certainly benefit from a more responsive website if you choose a hosting provider with AMD Ryzen Zen 3 servers.
This is quite an academic article with a lot of data.
I have always tilted towards Cloudways due to its heavy recommendations and popularity. This article is an eye-opener! I will have to give LiteSpeed and CDN a try.
Thanks for the invaluable and detailed information provided here. I am sure I will have to read this again, bookmarked!
PHP benchmarks show that the Ryzen Zen 3 servers are on average 30% faster than AMD EPYC 7543 Zen 3 servers, 80% faster than AMD EPYC 7502 Zen 2 servers, and 2.5 times faster than AMD EPYC 7302 used by NameHero. MechanicWeb and HostXNow are using a Ryzen 9 5950x with 16 CPU cores as the optimal AMD Ryzen Zen 3 server. AMD Ryzen Zen+ ( and AMD Ryzen Zen 2 (Nexus Bytes) have almost identical speed metrics to Intel Xeon E-2288G. The move to AMD Ryzen Zen 3 (Mechanic Web) shows a big jump of about 45% in server performance. AMD has taken a big step forward! However, Intel matched it with its Intel Xeon E-2388G servers, which even have an edge when it comes to performing loop operations.
Intel and AMD have crossed the already blurred line of server vs desktop processors multiple times in an attempt to overthrow one another from their crowns. Intel is now separating two families of very similar silicon dies by not enabling ECC RAM on i9 dies and rebranding silicon dies with included ECC RAM as Xeon E-2300. Desktops are sold with an i9, and servers with E-2300. Performance specifications and GPUs of both processor lines are very similar. Intel charges the same price for both processors.
The Ryzen Zen 3 without ECC RAM on a cheaper motherboard competes with the Intel i9-11900K. With ECC RAM and a more expensive motherboard, it is a competitor to the Xeon E-2388G. There is an enteprise grade motherboard for Ryzen. This motherboard is used on some builds at Hetzner. However, Hetzner doesn’t provide ipmi access.
A recent blog post from GridPane recommends considering AMD Ryzen Zen 3 gaming servers for demanding WooCommerce applications: “Gaming servers generally come with the DDR4 ECC RAM, and NVMe SSD storage. Excellent dedicated gaming/high-end CPU server providers includes OVH and Hetzner”.
With the introduction of the Xeon E-2388G processors with 8 CPU cores, Intel is catching up to the speed of AMD’s Ryzen 9 5950X. While the new Intel Rocket Lake processors are similar to the Ryzen Zen 3 in terms of speed, the price-performance ratio for Intel is still poor, as the number of CPU cores is two times lower. As a result of the fewer CPU cores, E-2388G is unlikely to win over Ryzen 5950X for shared hosting providers.
The battle, however, has only just begun. According to recent benchmarks, Intel’s Alder Lake has far outperform Zen 3 – up to 20% more performance in a single-thread benchmark has already been shown. Alder Lake had doubled the number of CPU cores to match AMD Ryzen 9 590X’s 16 cores. One half of these cores are slow and the other half are fast. In server applications, this type of power saving is not appropriate.  It is possible that the dividing line between desktop and server processors will reappear on the Intel platform and that Ryzen will lose some market share in the workstation space, but gain the upper hand on the server side.
Zen 4 will bring a performance increase of at least 30%, but it will be released 12 months after Alder Lake. The new Ryzen 9 series CPUs will feature 24 cores in the AMD Zen 4 version. Both AMD and Intel will offer support for DDR5 and PCIe 5, doubling PCI Express speed and increasing memory speed by 50%. The Ryzen 6000 chips, which are already in mass production, support DDR5 using the improved Zen 3+ architecture. AMD had officially presented the new Zen 3+ Ryzen 6000 APU processors at CES 2022.
Those are great news for avid small hosting providers, but it spells doom for large web hosting conglomerates recycling old Intel processors. The speed gap in server hardware is already at least five times and will increase to almost eight times in the next two years. The decision to use old, slow hardware or pay a similar amount for modern, fast servers is entirely up to you!
You should be aware that most affiliate scammers who dominate the WordPress space will push you either Cloudways or a long list of providers with slow, outdated hardware. Of course, you’ll be presented with data proving the “fast-if-cached performance” of such providers, as well as stable service with good uptime. This is not an outright lie. Even after 15 years, old server hardware can still be functional. However, it is important to know that almost everyone who uses affiliate links has far less integrity than a used car salesman and leaves with much lower commissions. Data centers rely on them to recycle old equipment.  Those involved in charities or emotionally committed to recycling old hardware should follow their advice. You will not be disappointed!

VPS cargo cult

A cargo cult was described in several ethnographic studies of indigenous populations in Oceania. Multiple airbases were built on their land during the Second World War, often marking their first close contact with western civilization. Airbases such as these became abandoned after the war, and cargo planes ceased landing or airdropping supplies. Local people made attempts to imitate the behaviour of soldiers in hopes that this would prompt the soldiers and their cargo to return. The cargo cult mimicked soldiers’ daily activities and dress styles, like performing parade drills with wooden or salvaged rifles.
A similar pattern is evident among web designers. The web design community sorely misses web developers. Followers of the VPS cargo cult are mimicking web developers by moving their websites from shared hosting to a VPS in the hope that it will make their websites faster, as fast as they were in the past. In a new VPS cargo cult, efficiency is similar to what indigenous people have achieved by participating in parade drills with wooden rifles – the websites run slowly due to bloated JavaScript. The actual hosting configuration has very little to do with fixing it.
In the past, web design teams always had a web developer. Most websites were hand-coded, and front-end and back-end developers were essential to maintaining and optimizing the website. This has changed dramatically since CMSs such as WordPress became popular. Most developers have left, leaving web designers to design, implement, and maintain websites alone. Inviting people without technical skills to replace web developers was not without its drawbacks. The majority of web designers do not know how to design websites with fast speed using CMS tools. In our benchmark study of the UK web design market, we found the situation very bleak. One of the reasons Google is driving towards faster websites is the rapidly deteriorating speed of websites once they move away from the old hand-coded implementation.
Many web designers feel depressed when left to deal with technical issues alone. They become a target for charlatans offering easy magic solutions. To protect people from questionable companies like NitroPack, we have written a review of the best practices for optimising your website speed under WordPress. However, most users are now attacked from another end by VPS cargo cult followers.
Most old-school web developers required root access to the server. Complete control of the software stack was needed for the web project to support the flexibility of software design. Web developers use VPS for a good reason – it gives them control and flexibility. A different class of professionals uses WordPress – they don’t need root access. Those who are still unsure of how to use WordPress can turn VPS hosting into a disaster.
Google is now pushing web designers to the wall, demanding rapid improvements in the speed of their websites. A web designer can take several reasonable steps to fix the problem quickly. To do so, you should learn about plugins like AssetCleanUp and master the paid WP Rocket or free LiteSpeed cache plugins to accelerate the website’s rendering during asset loading. As a part of such quick fixes, LiteSpeed Enterprise web hosting with integrated edge delivery of HTML files via CDN is very helpful. In the long run, web designers need to study new Page Building tools such as Kadence Theme and Kadence Blocks, or Bricks Page Builder, which aims to serve your WordPress websites without using jQuery libraries and generating bloated JavaScript code. Using new toolsets, anyone can get a mobile PSI score above 90.
When people shift to Cloudways or RunCloud and report a significant  improvement, it’s likely that some sort of server-level cache is at play. I don’t know how many times I’ve had a client upset their site was slow but then refuse to use any sort of caching. “My site isn’t compatible with the cache,” is usually the claim – and it usually stems from trying one caching plugin many years ago for about 5 minutes. Then they move to a service that has built-in-and-forced server-level caching and they’re happy. But with careful caching and technical optimization, you can achieve much more!
Unfortunately, many web designers prefer to learn how to move to a VPS hosting plan instead. But why? Everyone knows that developers who were making fast websites used VPS hosting. Therefore, this is the secret ingredient! VPS hosting will make your website as fast as the one developed via hand-coding by your predecessors! What naive nonsens! If you think we are exaggerating, we were completely shocked to learn that some web designers using $200 per month GridPane management panel for unmanaged VPS accounts still use ThemeForest themes for their own websites and for their client’s websites.
Most people believe that VPSs offer greater performance and security but do not realize that managing them requires special skills and a high level of responsibility. Often, people with limited knowledge and experience in server administration suggest VPS over shared hosting. They have not yet experienced the full impact of a security/configuration nightmare. Those who have been burned jumping on the VPS bandwagon are hesitant to recommend a VPS to regular users. In the more challenging case, they recommend a managed VPS service and suggest checking if malware protection is included.
Shared hosting providers, especially those using cPanel, offer a standardised software stack. It’s ready to use out of the box for deploying production websites. Most of the features that WordPress websites need are already optimised. Security, stability, and monitoring of the server is the hosting company’s responsibility. They have more experience and expertise than most VPS users. When you choose a good company, you get stability, security, and performance from the start.
Software-as-a-service companies like Cloudways or RunCloud do not run your servers. They will not/cannot do much more than their primary software – the control panel – provides.  They also don’t provide server-level malware scanning and removal services.  A shared server or managed VPS provider ensures that its servers are stable and function optimally at all times. Their scope of services is not limited by installed software. They will do everything they can to ensure stability and optimal performance.
Let’s face it. Cloudways is only popular because their affiliate program is the best-paying. Their pricing was never the cheapest and the stack was never the fastest. However, Cloudways pricing is still fair when compared to overpriced crap like Kinsta/WPEngine.
I think Cloudways stack and company are too bloated to evolve with the times. I don’t expect any improvement from them over the years and see myself recommending them less and less, if even at all. The only reason why I ever recommended Cloudways was because they offered noob support. If not for the noob support, I wouldn’t recommend them at all.
You are free to make your own decision. We provide you with benchmarks that show that many shared hosting providers offer you much faster hardware than what you can get from any cloud VPS provider. Moreover, such shared hosting providers will offer malware and security protection at a server level. VPS cargo cult followers often miss out on this massive advantage with their preferred management panels. WordPress is used on 95% of all hacked websites. Do you need any other reason to stay away from the VPS cargo cult?
It is crucial to appreciate that even if you require beefy resources such as dedicate 16 CPU cores and 64 GB RAM, some shared hosting companies are providing necessary application hosting services. They might become your best resource in navigating security and stability issues for your massive website. After all, some of them used to be web developers. Just a thought…

Benchmark Tables: a first look

In the Benchmark Study section of this report, we describe our methodology for performing five different tests, which are summarised in the table. Companies such as EthernetServers and NameHero appear to offer servers with badly optimised MySQL settings. It is likely caused by the neglect of their sysadmin team resulting in poor performance scores in the “Database” and “WordPress Performance” sections.
We are puzzled by the poor performance of Stablepoint on the E-2288G server rented from Vultr in Singapore. Additional PHP tests show that Stablepoint’s server is almost twice slower than MechanicWeb’s E-2288G servers in the Los Angeles datacenter. The K6 load tests confirm the same significant difference. The benchmarks measured on Stablepoint’s servers tend to be very noisy during the daytime. There are variations of nearly 40%, which is significantly more than 3% usually observed elsewhere. Stablepoint’s servers in Singapore perform almost 50% faster at night. That explains a lot!  It means that Stablepoint’s servers are heavily overloaded, making it impossible to show their hardware’s true capabilities in the benchmarks.
Cloudways’ 4 GB Vultr HF plan performs poorly in all CPU performance tests (greenish colour highlighted). The vast majority of LiteSpeed vendors in the first table outperform Cloudways on CPU processing speed and price. Of course, you can find other overrated providers with even slower service. The second table contains some examples. The fact that WP Engine seems to be using old Google servers is a surprise. The Raidboxes account performed badly in the K6 load test. The account spikes to 8 vCPUs utilisation during peak load, because the performance per CPU core is simply horrible! It is rather puzzling to see Kevin Ohashi mentioning Raidboxes as a top recommendation for shared hosting in his latest review.
Kevin Ohashi’s hosting provider’s ratings do not correlate with the speed of the hosting providers’ hardware. However, his top list does correlate with affiliate fees. For example, Kevin Ohashi heavily promotes 20i (£60 per new user), WPX and GreenGeek ($100 per new user), and Raidboxes (from €75 to €1,500 per new paid user). Statistically, affiliate fees make up a large impact on Kevin Ohashi’s review outcomes, which is not disclosed to unsuspecting readers. Even if a big cash cow like SiteGround ($100 per new paid user) falls out of favour with most former users, Kevin still mentions it in the honour list. That downfalls should not affect revenue!
Outside of WordPress echosystem, review sites that claim an 8 year old laptop can perform the same as the latest model will be ridiculed. In the minefield of WordPress echo chambers that spring up on Facebook, the person who claims GreenGeeks is a top hosting provider is not ridiculed, but rewarded with affiliate fees from people who switch to outdated hardware that uses four CPU cores to match one CPU core of modern server. What an impressive affiliate scammers community, isn’t it?
The third table extends the benchmarks to other LiteSpeed hosting providers. Most of them are not worth your time. For example, WPX’s $21-month plan is too slow and will serve 2x fewer visitors than MechanicWeb’s $3-month Smart plan. The reason why affiliate scammers like Matthew Woodward claim WPX is the fastest WordPress hosting solution is puzzling, unless you take into account that he gets $100 affiliate fees whenever someone signs up for WPX through his link.
Closte is 20% faster than Stablepoint, 15% faster than Siteground, and 10% faster than Kinsta. WPEngine is 38% slower than Closte. The Google Compute Engine platform is used by all five companies. This is a big surprise as all five companies were tested from the same London data centre. They probably use different subscription plans, but such a big difference is unexpected. PHP test results fluctuates by about 30% on Stablepoint’s Google N2 servers, indicating heavily overloaded hardware resources and benchmarks that do not accurately reflect the server’s hardware capabilities.
Most hosting providers in this third table severely limit the disk speed for your package. A2Hosting has restricted disk speed to 4 MB/s. Hostinger’s speed of 1 MB/s is not only a violation of common sense, but it shows incompetence. The WP Benchmark plugin could not even run Filesystem test on Hostinger’s account. If your hosting provider is not able to run the performance test plugin, why would you choose such a crappy server? Do not believe Darell Wilson when he says Hostinger is the fastest and best option.  He does it to earn 60% of the fee for your first annual subscription. Check out our benchmarks to see the depth of the ethical swamp that affiliate programs create!
Unexpectedly, sysadmins with little or no technical knowledge are used by many hosting providers of all sizes to fine tune server settings. Make sure your host is not using load balancing to serve your site from a cluster of servers. This can lead to a performance disaster, especially for low traffic websites. With Krystal Hosting, the WP performance benchmark was 2.4 seconds after several tests, but after a few hours of inactivity, it increases to 27 seconds. The site on 20i may show 500ms TTFB after some activity, but after a period of no traffic it slips to 4 seconds or worse. Your low traffic website loses the promised resources in favour of high traffic websites. This way, more than 80% of users get inferior services, benefiting the remaining 20%. Unfortunately, unprofessional system administrators do not care about properly tuning their systems. If you have an army of affiliate scammers recommending your services regardless of your performance, why bother?
I am a big fan of LiteSpeed and its CDN. However, I am cautious. GDPR is a pain for European web developers, and it’s especially problematic in Germany, where no data protection officer will agree to using a CDN. The ePrivacy regulation requires that any transfer outside the EU, including IP addresses, must be approved. Several law firms advised me against using a CDN or set aside money for litigation.
For me, a test of the European hosting provider being only “uncached” is not enough. It’s essential to benchmark the delivery of a significant amount of cached content.
Raidboxes have a custom Nginx configuration and modify WordPress core files. Their CGI cache can handle many visitors, even on the cheapest plan. However, you cannot take advantage of WP Rocket or LSCache’s using such hosting.
It is interesting to benchmark European LiteSpeed providers with Raidboxes to compare their cached content delivery.
Thanks  for the extra tests. I read through both of your articles on hosting and CDN. Great articles! Now I understand why I recognized your site: the article about NitroPack is pure gold. You write great articles that are well researched and in-depth!
Andre Baum
Andre Baum
Andre, thank you so much for your comment! We have taken your suggestion and tested the MechanicWeb servers in the Hetzner data centre in Germany against Raidboxes. The main tests are performed with for fully cached webpages and K6 load testing for uncached webpages. With fully cached content, MechanicWeb with LSCache is 1.5 times faster and can handle significantly more traffic. We stopped our tests at the rate of 2,000 visitors per second, which is nowhere near the limit of the LiteSpeed server. Even with such unrealistically high traffic to the webpage, the TTFB remains under 60ms. The Raidboxes performed nine times worse than MechanicWeb with LiteSpeed Enterprise Web Server in the performance test without cache. Considering that MechanicWeb is about six times cheaper, we recommend trying it out! It will work perfectly well without CDN.

Cloud hosting with the LiteSpeed Web Server

As part of our benchmarking tables, we featured Closte, a unique LiteSpeed service provider that uses the infrastructure of Google Cloud Compute Engine to offer a Pay-As-You-Go hosting plan. Unlike Cloudways, Closte does not compromise on security and offers highly efficient real-time malware detection protection that is tuned for WordPress.
Closte is definitely worth trying. It offers LiteSpeed, security is included, it runs on Google Cloud, and there are no affiliate programs :). Closte costs me $5 a month for a basic website but outperforms my previous providers. With Closte, I have never had a website crash, I have never experienced a hack, and I have never contacted support about anything WordPress related.  However, Closte is not user friendly for newbies. Closte is perfect only if you already have experience managing a WordPress website and know what you are doing.
I am reaching out again regarding your articles – I have studied them, and thank you for giving me and others the privilege of broadening our horizons. I see now that I put Closte too high on a pedestal because they offered me my first look at LiteSpeed servers and the opportunity not to be undermined by other hosting platforms with their drawbacks, mainly security issues. I am migrating to MechanicWeb with a Quic CDN, and Ecwid provides the e-commerce side for a secure hosting solution. Much more has happened due to studies and implementations on my part, but I felt I owed you some honest feedback related to your brilliant, carefully tested articles.
We recommend considering the junior Smart plan on MechanicWeb servers as an option for the most price sensitive users. MechanicWeb offers 10 GB of storage and two domains for $3 per month, but their CPU processing speed is 67% faster than Closte’s. It seems illogical to switch to Closte when the faster processing of dynamic queries on MechanicWeb servers can increase the conversion rates of your visitors. Closte is notorious for its abysmal customer support, so it’s unclear if their offer is worth the hassle.
Hardware resource price on Cloud Hosting is significantly higher than hardware prices for the bare-metal servers at the same Data Center. A higher cost comes from complete virtualisation services with live migrations of Virtual Machines controlled by the engineers at the Data Center. It allows them to better address patching, repairing, and updating the software and hardware without the need for you to worry about machine reboots.
Thanks for the superb analysis! I have to admit that I have been quite a proponent of Cloudways, with their generous affiliate program as the main reason why. It helps that Cloudways pretty much excel in marketing themselves as a modern managed WordPress hosting provider. Without a closer look, not many WordPress developers, including myself, will realize that Cloudways would not be the actual dedicated VPS hosting. So, kudos to your research and this great article!
I feel like this article is a wake-up call for me to move into the future of faster web servers with LiteSpeed. The combination of HostXNow servers in the northeastern US and MechanicWeb in the southwestern US seems like good coverage. You mention providers in Europe. Closte has a very high potential among all those discussed in the article. They provide very efficient geo-coverage, and are useful for all my Asian clients.
Again, marketing is everything. It’s challenging to determine the best when we keep getting re-targeted by the big companies. So as web professionals, we need to be able to point out the benchmarks of the large slow providers our clients are familiar with versus the ones championed in your article.
The case for considering Closte services remains strong if most of your customers are outside of the major European and American hubs. By using Closte, you can physically place your server much closer to your customers, drastically reducing their wait time for dynamic requests or even static content on low traffic websites. Closte has locations in Finland, Sao Paulo in Brazil, and many Asian locations, including Seoul, Tokyo, Mumbai, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Singapore, Sydney, and Melbourne. Closte will undoubtedly be an interesting choice for many businesses in Asia and South America.
Nevertheless, we recommend that you check Stablepoint’s Personal Web Hosting and Reseller Hosting before signing up with Closte. The data centers used by Stablepoint include Linode, Google Cloud, and DigitalOcean. The main difference with Closte is that Stablepoint uses LiteSpeed Enterprise Web Server as part of its convenient industry-standard cPanel-based plans. cPanel is a security-hardened professional hosting panel with years of development. Stablepoint offers transparent resource allocation, fixed billing, and a great friendly 24/7 support team. They provide all the standard security features of a cPanel-based account, such as WAF and malware protection.
As an ordinary (dumb) customer, I can say that WordPress generally runs faster with providers who offer CloudLinux + LiteSpeed. It has also been my experience that, as far as control panels go, cPanel hosting has a lot fewer “hiccups” compared to other panels. With all that considered, cPanel, CloudLinux and LiteSpeed have a very strong market position allowing shared hosting to still be relatively cheap, with quite good performance. When comparing offers in terms of “bang for the buck” – that combo it’s still unbeaten. I’ve been looking into the budget, and especially free open source alternatives and couldn’t find anything that works nearly as well in practice.
We advise companies in the US, Europe, and the UK to be cautious when selecting Stablepoint plans due to unpredictable hardware specifications and limited disk speed. Our benchmarks showed that their shared servers were overloaded, resulting in performance degradation. In this article, we have presented shared hosting plans with much faster hardware. However, it is a reasonable option to consider if you need to serve customers in Asia. Now that StablePoint uses dedicated EPYC Zen 3 servers in Singapore, these servers can be recommended over Closte.
Google Cloud noise
Above is the result of PHP benchmarks conducted for the Stablepoint plan using Google N2 servers in the London data centre. The significant noise in the data is not inherent to PHP tests. The PHP tests on MechanicWeb servers in Los Angeles (E-2288G) and Germany (Ryzen 9 5950x) illustrate this.  The noise of Google N2 server performance is not the fault of Stablepoint who keep their server in London underutilised. Compared with a premium shared hosting service provided by MechanicWeb, Google Compute Engine appears slow and noisy.  On average, the vCPU noise is slowing down the server by about 10%, but your individual processes can be slowed down by up to 57%.  It is unclear why anyone would want to use cloud hosting for such compromised performance.  Unlike “premium” Google service that occasionally slows down nearly two times due to noisy neighbours, you could have a 2.4 times faster Ryzen 9 5950x. The decision to choose to host with occasionally five times slower speed is a brave one!
Let us explain the origin of noise on Google Cloud . When Google sells you a dedicated vCPU, it simply means that the number of vCPUs issued on that server is equal to the number of threads on the processor. In other words, such dedicated vCPU is the ability to use a single thread of a physical processor without time-sharing restrictions.  These vCPUs are assigned to a thread on a physical CPU core when used by operating system. There is no guarantee that your vCPU will be the only active thread on the physical CPU core. Even if your vCPU is not shared, the pysical CPU cores are. Operating systems has access to two threads on each physical CPU core.
Your vCPU will only operate at 100% if your server logical CPUs utilisation is less than 50%. From our testing, CPU utilisation on Google servers often exceeds 50% (the number of vCPUs assigned to physical CPUs exceeds the number of physical cores). Once the utilisation exceeds 50%, the performance of the vCPU on shared CPU cores drops.
What happens when your vCPU is working with another thread on the physical CPU core? Intel estimates that hyperthreading increases CPU performance by about 30% by eliminating idle time. Once idle time is eliminated, your vCPU will get 130%/2=65% of the CPU core when shared with another thread. If your server is running calculation intensive processes on the same CPU core (with no idle time), your share can drop to 50% per thread.
Once the the CPU utilisation exceeds 50%, some vCPUs experience a performance drop of about 35% (very common on Google Cloud). However we witness decreased  efficiency with vCPUs performance reduced by up to 50%, which is less common but still happens.
With a dedicated server, everything is under the control of your hosting provider. Server CPU utilisation can be proactively monitored to keep it below 50%. Such servers are referred to as underutilised. Customers hosted on an underutilised server have consistent performance regardless of the fact that they are hosted on a shared server.
With Google, you have a different business case. The usage of CPU on the server should be reduced to prevent noise in vCPU performance. But that’s the significant drop in revenue. In fact, Google sells extremely cheap vCPUs for non-time-critical computations (which have nothing to do with hosting) to increase CPU utilisation so that the vCPU noise kicks in. The cheap vCPUs are shut down and restarted when possible to keep your server CPU utilisation at a certain level. As a result, the level of vCPU noise on the Google server is the same day and night. It could have been eliminated by reducing the average load by only 10%. But Google’s revenue should not suffer!
Your provider, like Stablepoint, has no control in a “cloud” scenario. It will likely host you with noisy virtual CPUs on servers that are preloaded by Google. Stablepoint can only solve this problem by moving your account to a dedicated server.  We are pleased to announce that StablePoint has moved to dedicated servers in most locations after receiving our criticism. They currently offer a dedicated EPYC Zen 3 server in London that performs much better than the very expensive Google cloud.
To assume that Google is the only culprit in the industry would be wrong. Any “cloud” provider will offer the same noisy CPU performance. As shown in the table above, we included tests performed on servers managed by NameHero, which rents its cloud resources from Liquid Web (Nexcess). Based on NameHero’s data, you can see that their servers are about 6% slower than Google’s N2 servers. That is within the noise level of their benchmarks and in perfect agreement with the results of K6 load test shown in our main benchmark tables. NameHero test data shows similar noisy performance to Google. So, “cloud” CPU resources provided by Liquid Web are also already dynamically overloaded.
The word “cloud” does not mean enterprise-level hosting anymore. Typically, it means a cluster of servers in adjacent rooms. There is a single point of failure, such as a fire, power outage, or network failure. But it also means noisy vCPUs on dynamically preloaded servers. A good shared hosting might perform better because the sysadmin team keeps it underutilised.
Cloud hosting is perceived by users as offering better value and faster. However, cloud hosting was originally designed to automatically scale geographically distributed servers. That does not make it faster or cheaper. Their value is especially questionable since vendors dynamically load their servers to keep them above 50% CPU utilisation. New dedicated bare-metal servers offered by many western data centers are twice as fast as those used by the major cloud providers.  There are not many data centers with fast hardware outside the US, EU, and UK. Since many Asian data centers lack modern hardware, Google Cloud, Linode, Vultr and DO remain the preferred hosting infrastructure providers there.
There is no doubt that the Cloud Server is the best concept for rarely visited websites with computing resources allocated only when used. However, it is far better to host your website on a much faster underutilised premium-level LiteSpeed Web Server Enterprise shared server plan than choose more expensive Cloud server plans.

What's the best way to choose a web host?

All of what is described above would lead to professional communities being more interested in learning what’s going on in the LiteSpeed ecosystem and discussing the pros and cons of the various LiteSpeed hosting providers and hardware they are using for their servers. After all, there are already 5,000,000 sites using LiteSpeed. However, that’s a far cry from what you read on Facebook forums or watch on YouTube these days. The purpose of this study is to fill the knowledge gap.
I am really amazed at how detailed the article is. I learned quite a lot! Kudos.
The pandemic has made clients more hands-on when it comes to creating a website. Unfortunately, they chose hosting because of advertising and marketing, and I agree that today the most hyped products have the highest number of affiliates. However, I think it is our job to fix this problem.
I appreciate the way your article educates and guides web designers, especially with the vast abundance of hosting providers out there today.
In the future please let me know if there any other articles like this. I really learned a lot!
Marion Paolo Abagar
Marion Paolo Abagar
By contacting us, readers can actively contribute to our study. You can read the opinions of about 70 people on this article, and feel free to share your own opinions with future readers.
I went through the article and all the comments that all knowledgeable folks have left. I do see some familiar faces, but beyond that, I see familiar thoughts. Most of what I’ve had in my bag of experiences is already shared by other people, like Bobby and Andre, so I doubt I’ll be able to add any extra value to the article. Having said that, I appreciate that it is a very well-written and helpful article that I hope helps as many WordPress users as possible, especially those who are new to the game. Thank you for writing it, and keep churning helpful articles like this one!
It is a rare option to read a study that is not influenced by affiliate fees! Read the rest of the article to learn more about modern web hosting.
We are glad that our article is helping to increase the wisdom of the WordPress blogging community. While most of these “professionals”contribute a lot to Cloudways propaganda, some of them, like Tom Dupuis of Online Media Masters, have chosen to supplement their Cloudways affiliate income with commissions from NameHero. We appreciate Tom’s change of heart after reading our article on LiteSpeed ecosystem.
At NameHero and Cloudways, affiliates can earn up to $125 per paying customer they refer. The services offered by both companies are somewhat compromised, with NameHero choosing the slowest AMD EPYC servers. We find it insane that NameHero is willing to pay affiliates nearly 50% of the discounted three-year subscription for the Turbo Boost plan. Customers would rather have faster hardware! Still, NameHero retains the ability to bribe Cloudways affiliates like Tom Dupious. That counts to something!

Case Study: moving from Cloudways to MechanicWeb

David Miles
David Miles, Wildlife Photography at NaturesLens
Good customer support at Cloudways is a myth. Be prepared to be shocked.
Since June 2021 my hosting plan on Cloudways had started spiking to 100% CPU. In July I spotted a thread on Facebook in which many users were complaining about the same, so I was not alone! Many people, including WP Johnny, have tried to fix the problem for their customers – to no avail.
I worked closely with the Cloudways tech support team for a couple of months. During that time, they blamed Redis, Varnish, WP Rocket, ACF, Sucuri, etc., until I disabled almost every plugin. With Cloudways tech support, we reached a point of total stupidity, such as claims that WP Rocket is unfit for purpose, ACF is a hobbyist plugin, and many more. Cloudways hides the command line interface, making it difficult to figure out what’s going on. It’s generally a good thing to hide complexity, but not in this case.
It took me a long time to realise that Cloudways is just a glorified control panel with an old stack and helpless tech support.
However, there is a happy ending. As a result of your recommendations about MechanicWeb, I’ve migrated all the sites there this month. The MechanicWeb team was extremely patient and helpful. It all works fine now. My development site, the ‘resource hog,’ runs very fast on the front end. Since it is Elementor-based, one would expect it to be slow, but it isn’t. This site works noticeably fast at the backend – all that resource use, it doesn’t exist on Mechanic Web.
Then I must have made some code changes or plugin changes to achieve this miracle, right? No, nothing! The sites are all functioning normally again and consuming little CPU resource, simply by shifting to MechanicWeb.  
The moral of the story, Cloudways sell snake oil; MechanicWeb is the real thing!=
Phillip Bourchard
Phillip Bourchard, Customer Success Engineer at Cloudways
Dear David,
I am sorry to hear that you have decided to cut ties with Cloudways. I must admit, though, that this does not come as a surprise. In fact, you have displayed great patience throughout this ordeal, and, unfortunately, we were unable to capitalize.
Taking my Cloudways hat off for a moment, I am happy to hear that you have found a solution that works for your applications. There are many areas where Cloudways can improve, and this saga seemed to pass from one point of weakness to the next, creating a domino effect of undesirable outcomes. We certainly uncovered systems and procedures that we must refine, but this arrived at a point that was simply unsustainable from your end. Considering this, as a business owner, you must do what is best for you, and at the present moment that means leaving Cloudways.
Thank you again for your patience and cooperation over the past few months. If there is anything else that I can do you for you in regards to your account, please do not hesitate to let me know. I wish you the best of luck moving forward, and we’ll be here should you ever want to return to Cloudways.
Septemeber 2021
Recently moved from Cloudways (Vultr datacenter in the Netherlands) to MechanicWeb (Germany) and can confirm the performance is noticeably better for the same price or less.
No latency issues in TTFB either.
Barzin Lotfabadi
Barzin Lotfabadi, full-service digital marketing & technology at Sanctus.
Amazing and in-depth article! It’s wonderful to see so detailed analysis of a service that is often taken for granted by users and clients, but actually involves quite a few moving parts. I have learned so much from reading this four-part series and I look forward to reading more here at WebWhim.
Those seeking to build serious online businesses often consult with agencies in order to make the right decisions. There is an optimal setup for each business case and it is true that not every business is going to require a dedicated or VPS server. Part of our job is to work with clients to determine what their goals are and how different solutions can help them achieve those goals. Cost-cutting is great for competitiveness, but clients also want quality and reliability of the service. To help to grow clients’ businesses we usually advise to put real dollar values on things like server downtime or connection slowdowns – exactly the sort of technical headaches our busy clients don’t want to encounter.
There is definitely a lot of excitement around LiteSpeed servers! It is a remarkable piece of software and I look forward to seeing how we can make better use of MechanicWeb to improve services to our clients.
A couple of months ago, thanks to your article, I purchased web hosting with MechanicWeb.  I have to say I am pretty pleased. When I contact support, I feel like I am already escalated to someone with more advanced technical knowledge on first contact. I get the feeling those who find and consider MechanicWeb know their way around the typical tech well enough. This leads me to suspect that MechanicWeb focuses on what is important under the hood, and their customer base is knowledgeable enough to recognize/understand what that is. Refreshing overall!
Your benchmark methodology is quite good. I also like the WordPress Hosting Benchmark tool 🙂. Though it’s worth noting: for me at least, the real-life performance, along with tests that include all the possible caching (even Cloudflare) are of greatest importance. Because that’s how I run my websites, so I’m always curious to figure out what’s best and fastest for me. Having said that, additional “bare-metal” testing is not to be disregarded. You make a good point that it makes sense to test both. You seem to have done a thorough job – kudos.

Hosting company size is its liability

Most large hosting corporations are fallen into the double trap. They are the primary Cloud services providers with the most expensive hardware resources, offering outdated bespoke software for their users.
Why are the customers still staying with them? They probably have a more urgent need to hire a knowledgeable web designer to refresh their WordPress website full of bloated code  – but they ignore both issues because they don’t care enough.  Ironically, Google wants them to start caring more about the ultimate page loading speed. In August 2021, many users have found their Google ranking crashed due to low Page Experience signals for their web pages. It is a painful way to force people to look around and find the ugly truth about large hosting corporations – they just lost track.
Now is the critical time for smaller hosting companies to offer better service to the customers. It is easier for smaller companies to understand their clients better. And decide to throw away all bespoke software development performed to optimise the Nginx servers. As they are a small team, they can make such a decision with less hesitation. They have a smaller number of clients compared to larger companies. The same people provide support to the same clients. In time the support team gains a better understanding of client requirements and show more empathy for resolving their problems.
Don’t be over-enthusiastic to choose a large company. It would help if you appreciated the scale of the problem facing large hosting corporations:
  • RackSpace and GoDaddy employs more than 8,000 people each
  • Newfold Digital (parent of Hostgator and Bluehost) employs more than 3,000 people
  • Endurance International Group (EIG) and OVH employ more than 2,000 people each
  • Ionos employs more than 2,000 people
  • WPEngine, Fastly, and NameCheap employs more than 900 people each
  • SiteGround and Hostinger employs more than 600 people each
  • LiquidWeb employs more than 500 people
  • Iomart and InMotion employs more than 300 people each
  • DreamHost, Flywheel, Kinsta, Cloudways, HostPapa, Fasthosts, Media Temple, and A2Hosting employs more than 150 people each
  • Namesco, HiVelocity, 10Web, Hetzner, and Pantheon employes under 100 people each
With the current price pressure to stay under $20 per month, LiteSpeed plans in the $10-$15 range with cPanel, NVMe SSD drives, and great customer service are the best choice. In a race to the bottom, development teams will need to downsize. Making a brave change to their outdated business model is painful. It is a big personal drama for many managers and software developers. Its something you never want to experience yourself. It is a coming bloodbath. Not all hosting companies can survive for the next few years.
Choose a smaller lean company offering you a combination of modern hardware hosted in a large Data Center and a fully standardised software package – and you can be sure that you will be among happy customers. Chose a large hosting corporation – and you will face what will happen to their technical support team’s moral once the axe starts swinging inside the headquarters.

Advanced Hosting Options

Premium shared hosting

Congratulations! Your website just became a huge success, as it managed to attract thousands of visitors per day. The first thing you need to do is unload all your static files onto an inexpensive CDN. This way, the traffic for the static assets will no longer be directed towards your origin server. This will cost you about $10 per month for 1TB of CDN traffic, but a Pay-As-You-Go version won’t likely exceed more than a $1 monthly fee. The origin server’s response time will be reduced as it left to respond only to requests by visitors who are viewing dynamic HTML pages in their browsers while scrolling through your online shop, reading comments on blog pages, or visiting the membership-only pages.
Transforming your WooCommerce store into a standalone back-end office hosted by a third-party service provider and an independent WordPress front end is the best way to deal with exponentially increasing traffic. You can do this using the Ecwid or dedicated plugin WP Shopify instead of WooCommerce, as we have written about extensively in the separate post. This approach will take over the task of serving checkout requests for you while reducing the load on your origin server so that it doesn’t get bogged down under increased demand from dynamic HTML pages generated by online shoppers visiting your website. Using either Ecwid or Shopify back-end, you are protecting your site’s sensitive data from any potential future hacking. If hackers were to destroy your website in a cyberattack, then all of your customers’ information would be safe on an independent back-end server maintained by either company.
eCommerce with WP Shopify
WooCommerce vs WordPress with WP Shopify plugin
Upgrading your shared hosting account may be a good idea if your traffic levels remain high. In a separate article, we describe the best hosting companies in the UK and US. In the article, we detail MechanicWeb and its seven hosting plans with progressively increasing resources. Upgrading to the Elite package at MechanicWeb offers the best performance. You get 8 CPU cores and 12 GB of RAM on the fastest AMD Ryzen Zen 3 server. You pay $54 per month and get unlimited domains, 200 GB of NVME SSD storage with 250 MB /s speed. Such a configuration outperforms almost any VPS, and you do not need to maintain any software. By using CDN and OPcache, you can serve an eCommerce store with up to 200k visitors per day without any problems! MechanicWeb offers servers in Dallas, Los Angeles, London, and Germany. It is the perfect solution for companies based in the UK, Europe, the US and Latin America.
HostXNow provides a proper alternative to MechanicWeb in the UK and USA (Washington). They offer Ryzen 9 5900x servers that perform similar to MechanicWeb’s  servers. Their semi-dedicated Agency plan comes with 8 CPUs and 12 GB RAM with a disk speed of 300 MB/s. They offer similar technical specifications for a comparable price to semi-dedicated MechanicWeb’s hosting plans. HostXNow provides a free trial for the first month for a nominal fee of £1.  There are many VPS plans that cannot match the capabilities of such semi-dedciated plans from MechanicWeb and HostXNow.
For EU or UK-based traffic, we recommend considering‘s WordPress Delux plan from servers in London or Germany. It is priced at $28 per month and provides 8 CPU cores, 8 GB RAM, 100 simultaneous entry processes, 10 domains, 40 GB NVMe storage (disk speed 64 MB/s), 3Gbps network uplink, enabled Redis, and support for HTTP/3. This configuration is sufficient for several heavily loaded eCommerce sites and outperforms most entry-level VPS offerings. It features workstation-grade AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X processors (turbo speed up to 4.4 GHz) with ECC DDR4-2933 RAM. This option is providing more recources than MechanicWeb plans for the same monthly fee, but is based on 30% slower AMD Zen+ hardware.
Another alternative to MechanicWeb and HostXNow is a more expensive set of Premium Hosting plans from Brixly. They offer three tiers, ranging from 6 CPUs /6 GB RAM for £30 per month to 12 CPUs /12 GB RAM for £99 per month. Aside from unlimited bandwidth and large disk allocation, they offer hourly and daily backups with retention for 90 days.  Their plans provide more resources than most managed VPS accounts but at a much lower cost. Brixly offers AMD EPYC 7502 Zen 2 servers in the UK, Gemany, and Virginia. When compared to Ryzen Zen 3 used by HostXNow and MechanicWeb, these servers are about 40% slower.
Make sure you don’t fall into a scammer’s trap when considering NameHero. The server has a 3.3 GHz AMD EPYC 7302 processor and DDR4-3200 memory. This might seem like a great deal, but the AMD EPYC 7302 has a very weak CPU, which will not handle demanding workloads. NameHero had abandoned plans to offer AMD EPYC Zen 3 servers. As of right now, MechanicWeb has almost 2.5 times the speed of NameHero. The trade-offs do not work out in NameHero’s favor since a fast site can increase conversions!

Shared hosting is now offering more resources than before

A hosting provider will monitor that his servers are underutilised to avoid slowing down your neighbours hosted on the same server. Different providers use various metrics for establishing an Unacceptable Resource Usage policy.
Providers of shared CPU VPS may force you to upgrade if you consistently use more than 30% of the CPU resources listed in the package specification. HostXNow, Brixly, and MechanicWeb, however, do not limit your activity that severely. As a result, their users would be able to consume more CPU power than traditional VPS users with the same number of CPU cores. We hope that such a benchmark will protect you from the influence of followers of the VPS cargo cult.
All of the above should be explained further. Most users in a shared hosting environment are buying resources they don’t need. Most people overestimate their traffic and resource consumption. This is even more so for fast servers using the latest hardware. Thanks to LiteSpeed Web Server’s server-level full page caching, you can deliver most content without touching your resource allocation. A static brochure website uses server resources primarily for editing rather than serving visitors.
Consequently, users with higher resource consumption may find that their hosting provider tolerates their behaviour. The fair CPU usage for most shared hosting accounts is about 5%, whereas it could reach up to 20% for the most expensive semi-dedicated hosting plans. In practice, however, you can draw much higher sustained CPU loads at the expense of your neighbours who run zombie accounts. A responsible host provider will ensure that the CPU usage on the entire server is below 50%. If this figure is exceeded, more proactive steps will be taken to police unfair resource usage.

Reseller hosting plans

Reseller Hosting is available from many providers. HostXNow, MechanicWeb, Brixly, and Stablepoint serve web agencies wishing to offer branded hosting to their clients. The services are similarly priced and offer various hosting options, ranging from 20 to 250 accounts. To make the best decision for your clients, be sure to review the details carefully.
There are many web designers who offer no-frills hosting services to their clients. Unlike larger web agencies, they do not need automatic billing and do not know the benefits of setting up separate cPanel accounts for each client. However, reseller hosting is the ideal business practice to provide the best security to their clients. In a hosting environment, cPanel accounts are isolated using CageFS. Domains on the same cPanel account are not isolated. They just store their files in different folders. The security and stability are drastically improved with CageFS. Using different cPanel accounts isolates per-client resource consumption and theoretically improves stability when all sites experience a traffic spike at the same time.
However, please keep in mind that reseller hosting is very cheap, so you should not sign up for it unless you are confident in your technical abilities. Only shared hosting accounts come with “handholding” technical support. It is not recommended that novice users try to set up an agency with cheap reseller plans. You might be better off upgrading your skills on a shared hosting plan before moving to the reseller plan.
Let’s look at the reseller plans billed from $40 to $50 per month and compare them to a similarly priced Cloudways plan with 4 GB RAM, 2 CPUs, 80 GB of storage, and disk I/O speed of 120 MB/s on VultrHF servers.
  • MechanicWeb offers 150 GB of storage, 100 cPanel accounts, disk I/O speed of 40 MB/s, 2 GB of RAM, and 1 CPU. An additional $10.90 is charged per month for the WHMCS license. MechanicWeb also offers custom Reseller plans with child accounts with 2+ CPUs and 2+ GB RAM. These are bespoke plans, so you will need to contact MechanicWeb directly for pricing.
  • Brixly Reseller Pro plan offers unlimited storage, 100 cPanel accounts, disk I/O speed of 50 MB/s, 2 GB of RAM, and 2 CPUs. Brixly provides AMD EPYC 7502 Zen2 servers which are 40% slower compered to MechanicWeb. Brixly offers the option of upgrading specific child accounts to 4 GB RAM and 4 CPUs for just $7 per month. Such resource allocation can benefit any eCommerce website, especially during the holiday season. An additional $10.40 is charged per month for the WHMCS license.
  • Stablepoint Unlimited Reseller offers unlimited storage, 50 cPanel accounts, a low disk I/O speed of 10 MB/s, 4 GB of RAM and two CPUs.  EU, USA, and Singapore are served by dedicated EPYC Zen 3 servers. India and Australia are served by slower EPYC Zen 2 oversubscribed cloud servers. Larger agencies should consider StablePoint’s dedicated CPU hosting plans for resellers. This move will enable Redis for your clients. LiteSpeed Enterprise and cPanel accounts are provisioned for your clients on dedicated CPU VPS instances from Linode or DO servers.
  • HostXNow provides 50 GB of storage, 50 cPanel accounts, 150 MB/s disk I/O, and 2 GB RAM/1 CPU with the Performance plan. HostXNow runs Ryzen 5900x servers in London and Washington. They provide similar performance to MechanicWeb’s servers. For agencies requiring higher CPU resources, HostXNow offers three additional plans. The Professional plan includes 100 cPanel accounts with 4 GB RAM and 2 CPUs per child account, the Business plan includes 150 cPanel accounts with 6 GB RAM and 3 CPUs, and Agency plan comes with 200 cPanel accounts with 8 GB RAM and 4 CPUs per child account. The Agency plan is three times more expensive than the entry-level Professional plan, but it offers four times more cPanel accounts and four times more resources per child account. When you have multiple websites with occasional high CPU load requirements, HostXNow is one of the most competitive offers available. HostXNow’s ultra-fast server and significant CPU and RAM resources per child account allow hosting busy websites that were previously not possible through Reseller plans. However, be realistic about your expectations. If you need continuous high CPU utilisation, you should use a VPS instance with dedicated CPUs instead of a Reseller plans.
It would be helpful if you were aware that the reseller plans presented above offer a much more efficient software stack based on LiteSpeed Web Server Enterprise, which also provides full protection against “brute force” login attacks. Additionally, the hosting providers offer malware scanning and web application firewalls (WAF) – imunify360/ModSecurity at HostXNow and Stablepoint, imunifyAV+/CSF WAF at MechanicWeb, and BitNinja Security Firewall and BitNinja SiteProtection with real-time malware removal at Brixly. Cloudways does not offer such protection. Their offer is to spend $16.5 per month per domain for Sucuri – that’s an extra $1.65k per month!
Each of about 50-100 cPanel accounts on the reseller plan will be capable of serving about the same number of visitors compared to the entire Cloudways plan. The CageFS isolation further improves security for each child account. Any person recommending that multiple domains are best hosted on the shared vCPU Cloudways plans is missing the necessary skills to analyse different hosting options or is a pure scammer driven by the affiliate fees from Cloudways.
Don’t put too much emphasis on the availability of the object cache such as Redis or Memcached. As explained in our Object Caching section, Redis or Memcached will boost performance mainly on old servers with misconfigured SQL databases. Memcached or Redis will accelerate typical websites on the fast servers by only 5%, making it a far less critical issue. CloudLinux released a Redis Object Cache module as part of its WP Optimization Suite for CloudLinux Shared Pro at the end of 2021. By the end of 2022, most LiteSpeed hosting providers will offer secure Redis to their shared hosting clients. All options for Redis object cache provided now on shared hosting are not safe, and we do not recommend using them until CloudLinux completes its secure implementation.
Also, be careful with your expectations! Your entire reseller account with 100 child accounts should aim to continuously use only slightly higher than 6 GB RAM and 1 CPU. That is still more than the Cloudways plan, which should consume no more than 0.6 CPUs continuously (30% out of 2 shared CPUs). Provisioning 2 GB RAM / 2 CPUs per child account is for peak loads only! If you have a client with a successful eCommerce website, you must consider semi-dedicated shared hosting instead of putting them on heavily oversubscribed reseller hosting accounts.
When you have several websites with occasional high CPU load requirements, HostXNow is one of the most competitive offers available. HostXNow’s ultra-fast server and significant CPU and RAM resources per child account allow hosting busy websites that were previously not possible through Reseller plans. However, be realistic about your expectations. If you need continuous high CPU utilisation, you should use a VPS instance with dedicated CPUs instead of a Reseller plan. You should aim for a continuous CPU load of less than 3 CPU hyperthreads for the entire Agency Reseller account, so plan accordingly!
Providers are able to offer low-cost reseller plans because resellers mainly work with simple brochure websites. The LiteSpeed Cache Engine caches such sites on the server, so child accounts are rarely accessed except for editing content and updating plugins. Server resources are grossly oversubscribed. A reseller hosting server with 16 CPU cores (32 hyperthreads) can have about 1,000 cPanel accounts. The fact that your account can access up to two CPU hyperthreads does not mean that you can use them continuously. Even a continuous utilisation of 5% of the CPU hyperthread on the child account can cause problems on such an overloaded hosting server. A reseller service must be offered on fast, modern servers that can partially compensate for the overcrowding of reseller servers. Using Ryzen 9 5900x  provides 30% faster performance than the AMD EPYC Zen 3. You can purchase reseller hosting on Ryzen Zen 3 servers from MechanicWeb in the UK, USA and Germany, as well as from HostXNow in the UK and USA East Coast, and StablePoint in the USA West Coast.
When serving websites that require occasional high bursts of CPU usage, HostXNow is a good choice for clients based in the UK and USA, East Coast. They offer one of the best performing server options in the market with the  Ryzen 9 5900x servers. Their resource allocation of up to 8 GB RAM and 4 CPUs per child account is unmatched by their competitors.
I spent more than two hours reading this post. And what can I say? Oh boy, I was days away from moving my websites to Cloudways when I stumbled with this by accident. What an amazing study!
Your post was a total eye-opener to someone like me. In the end, and after comparing and analyzing advantages and so on, I’ve decided for Brixly’s reseller plan (they have very good reviews regarding their customer service, which is something I definitely need). And if they provide – technically speaking – what they say they do, it is almost unbelievable the price comparison to many of the “TOP” brands like Siteground or Cloudways. It really feels like a scam.
Keep up your amazing work, it is VERY rare to find such in-depth analysis without affiliate interests.
As cPanel prices have risen, many shady vendors are using so-called “bypass” licenses. This is a serious problem. By using illegal cPanel licenses, such providers can offer reseller hosting at unrealistically low prices. There are some providers that offer reseller hosting with 50 cPanel accounts for $15 or less. Using a bypass license means that the cPanel’s automatic update request is handled by a malicious server that can gain full access to your hosting server. Anything hosted by such providers is insecure and illegal.
So, the web agencies can use white-labelled hosting for their clients at:
  • UK (MechanicWeb, HostXnow, Brixly) to serve customers in the UK
  • Germany (MechanicWeb, Brixly) to serve customers in the UK, Europe, Turkey, and Israel.
  • Washington (HostXnow, Brixly) to serve clients who need to cover both USA and Europe.
  • Los Angeles (MechanicWeb) to serve your West Coast clients.
  • Dallas (MechanicWeb) to serve customers in the South Central US and Latin America.
  • Sydney (Stablepoint) to serve customers in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Singapore (Stablepoint) to serve clients in Malaisia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
  • Bangalore, Mumbai (Stablepoint) to serve clients in India, Pakistan, and Bahrain.

Next steps

Our main research article (this post) provides a quick overview of the best hosting options currently on the market. The following posts continue the research article.
  • Part 1. We give a detailed overview of the standard software options offered by all reasonable LightSpeed web hosting providers. Before you choose your hosting, you should read this chapter!
  • Part 2. You should read the detailed chapter explaining the cheating and fraudulent schemes of Cloudways and its affiliate community. We strongly recommend you to study it if you are still angry at us after reading our direct insults against Cloudways and their iconic services.
  • Part 3. In the third chapter, we explain the technical details of our benchmarking study. Read it if you want to quickly test the actual quality of hardware resources provided by your hosting provider. You’ll also get an objective look at their sysadmin team – can they fine-tune software settings to optimize database performance?
  • Part 4. The final chapter covers advanced hosting options for extremely busy websites. You should study this chapter if you have more than 100,000 visitors per month and are determined to switch to VPS hosting.

The opinions and discussions

We invite active participants of numerous Facebook groups to express their views.
We are all entitled to our own opinions based on our actual experiences, and that is indisputable! Below is a checklist of things to consider when choosing a hosting company:
  • Pricing to fit your budget.
  • Speed and user experience; to get an objective balance, I read more about negative experiences than positive ones.
  • Security, and whether the hosting company takes exceptional care of it.
  • A detailed analysis to determine if your preferred plugins can run on the provider’s servers and/or if specific plugins are banned.
  • A fast and high-quality support, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
For someone who needs to choose their (perhaps very first) WordPress service provider, there are several things you should consider. What kind of websites are you hosting? Who are your clients? How many websites are there? Basically (because I could go on for hours) you need to think about scalability. CDNs are no longer considered suitable for businesses in Europe due to concerns about GDPR. LiteSpeed hosting provider offers true scalability for your traffic without a CDN.
As someone who likes to experiment a lot, good customer service that is available (preferably via live chat) is very important to me. I have no qualms about walking away from cPanel. I have a fast, spacious Plesk server with a Dutch hosting company because I have worked with them before and they have excellent customer service.
Hey WebWhim, that’s one massive article you’ve got going on. Impressively in-depth! It will serve you well for organic backlinks in the years to come.
The bare metal VPS with the management layer is especially good for developers and can also be used for hosting. Professionals who self-host on VPS can easily compromise security. For this reason, I use management layers on VPS, but I can still access root via SSH. My advice for management layers is to look at Gridpane. You get all the security features you could ever want.
You are definitely on the right track! LiteSpeed, when it works for someone’s specific configuration and needs, is a killer.
I am currently using GridPane, which can be described as an enterprise edition of Cloudways for WordPress agencies. As a user of GridPane, I know they have developed a LiteSpeed stack that integrates with OpenLiteSpeed (OLS). A free OLS is not as feature-rich as LiteSpeed Enterprise, the paid version used by many shared hosting providers. OLS on GridPane is in its BETA release, which means that any support ticket is treated as a bug report, with no commitment to a quick response. As soon as it leaves BETA, I’ll give it a try! Although Cloudways has discussed similar moves, no development has happened yet.
Until now, I only knew about the NitroPack article on this research portal. The more I look around, the more I realize how thoroughly this site covers every topic. Really great work!
This is a great, very in-depth article. I learned a lot more about WordPress hosting and will keep this article for reference.
I switched from SiteGround to Cloudways a few years ago… and boy oh boy I had no idea about what was written in this article. The site speed was a little slow at times and the tech support was hit or miss. I always felt that the prices for larger servers were very high, and a couple of years ago I switched to GridPane. I have had virtually no problems with my websites and am very satisfied with the GridPane platform. I am so happy with them that I have referred several of my clients. Even though the prices are not quite as reasonable now, the service is good and the support is great as well.
I have always read a lot of good things about LiteSpeed, and after reading this article, I may just bite the bullet and finally try them out.
There are a lot of affiliate reviews out there, which makes it difficult to determine if a review is genuine or if it’s a marketing scam. I am sorry for readers who do not have trusted colleagues to share stories and opinions with, and I hope this article can serve as a foundation for some of them.
My own decision depends on speed, TTFB, backups, security, and staging environment. Contact the vendor via Live Chat to test the waters. When you talk about staging, emails, restoring from backups, and estimated response time from request to speaking with a representative, what kind of feeling do you get? The cheapest quote is not always the worst idea, and the most expensive quote may not offer the most value. Ask around for feedback from freelancers and web agencies, read customer reviews, and talk to actual users of your chosen hosting provider.
In my experience, many customers waste money by opting for a more expensive plan, believing that their traffic will skyrocket. In reality, they rarely use the resources available to them under their hosting plan. Most clients use random hosting providers, and I often consolidate their domains onto a single account. Therefore, ease of migration and good support during the migration process are key decision points for me as a developer. I also consider all other aspects such as SSL, email, backups, bandwidth, security, and technical support.
Anyone looking for hosting advice in Facebook groups should only read the responses that provide a credible explanation. You might need to try several hosting providers to find the one that works best for you. Don’t be afraid to look beyond your own country. I often hear that hosting the site in another country hurts rankings, but I’ve yet to observe the proof.
Once you find a good hosting provider, stick with them. Make sure you have the option to upgrade your hosting service later. New websites can quickly grow in size and traffic, and you don’t know how soon your client will need to upgrade their hosting plan. Depending on the client’s budget, they may use an advertising agency or contract with an aggressive SEO firm. A website may suddenly receive a flood of visitors. The structure of your hosting provider’s offerings needs to accommodate this, regardless of what type of plan you initially chose.
The article states the facts upfront. As a Malaysian web design agency, we are always considerate towards the client’s budget for hosting as it is a recurring expense. Usually, a shared hosting plan is recommended so that the client can upgrade gradually as needed. To ensure reliability, scalability and security, we select responsible hosting companies. Do not just blindly follow recommendations from affiliate communities. Check the server specifications offered to you and determine if they offer value for money.
I firmly believe that LiteSpeed is the best web server on the market, especially if it has NVMe SSDs. It is a good combination for shared hosting.
A good hosting service is essential, but your website needs serious updating for new Core Web Vitals. Upskilling and learning the latest best practices is a big challenge for all developers and designers. Consider the best UI/UX, optimizations, caching and CDN. Remember to constantly tailor your content to the viewers, not just the Google bots.
In France, most SMEs do not know much about technical benchmarks and are unlikely to ask for them. The companies focus primarily on low-cost localised shared hosting in France (also for GDPR reasons) and French-speaking support staff. The quality of the support staff and their responsiveness are essential. As a result of Core Web Vitals, everyone is asking for speed but is unwilling to go beyond shared hosting for financial reasons. We also consider ease of use of access panels (UX might be a problem with some hosting), but we usually do not choose to host using providers from other EU countries.
A successful website depends on a good hosting provider. Choosing a reliable hosting provider within your budget will give you peace of mind. Most people will hesitate to pay more than $15 per month, but others will spend more than $100 for a robust setup. Because of Google’s new Page Experience metrics, you should also find out if your host will be fast. Unfortunately, we are often in the dark when it comes to evaluating speed.
I have not personally used most of the hosting companies listed in this article. However, I am impressed with their extensive and detailed coverage in the study. Those companies will be a good choice for many businesses looking to switch to a fast and reliable hosting service. This article covers everything in great detail and gives you the opportunity to decide for yourself what to choose.
Choosing the right hosting provider for your website is tricky and something that should not be taken lightly. Many people decide with their wallets, which is not the right way to go. I can give you many examples of expensive hosting providers with crap offerings and many cheap ones with excellent deals. Also, remember that a decision is not forever. Moving a website to another provider takes skill but is relatively easy. So do not get stuck with a lousy hosting provider and suffer from poor website performance, dropping visitors and bad conversion. Reading this article will give you good pointers. There is no one size fits all. Decide for yourself what is important, get advice from professionals and then test and optimise yourself.
I suggest that you should also keep in mind the quality of customer services. Technical performance is secondary. I am perfectly content to not have the best provider and to accept their technical shortcomings (to a certain extent), as long as I know they support me and I can rely on them. If you are just starting out with web design, this is even more important. You will then have to rely a lot on the hosting company as everything is new to you. If something goes wrong, you should feel that your provider has your back.
Based on my own experience, I can fully support the article’s focus on LiteSpeed servers. Also, I fully agree that any recommendations should be ignored if they are followed by an affiliate link. As for me, I prefer to pay attention to the recommendations of genuine users. Visit the website. If it looks like the offer is decent, keep looking on the web and check other information (good and bad). Again, ignore comments from people affiliated with the company. The same goes for sponsored ads, sponsored videos, etc.
Hosting is an essential component of the success of online business. Think of hosting as a business partner. Several factors should be considered when choosing a hosting partner:
  • The servers should be located as close to the target audience as possible. You should not use hosting servers located in the US if your target audience lives in Europe.
  • Security is a crucial aspect of digital business. You should always ask your hosting provider how they will secure your website(s). Have them describe their tools and tactics to you.
  • Uptime is an important factor. There is no such thing as 100%. There may be some downtime, but it should not be too long.
  • Support 24×7. Support is what makes or breaks a hosting solution.
  • Budget. Many people do not spend enough money and compromise on the above. This is not a good idea!
  • Consider a scalable solution.
I am definitely in favour of switching to a LiteSpeed Server. You will notice the difference when you make the switch. In the past, I have used pretty expensive managed private servers that were not even as good as inexpensive shared hosting on LiteSpeed servers. But finding speedy servers is just a first part of selecting your hosting provider. As for the price, there are usually lots of options if you are looking for discounts, especially on Black Friday.
However, still, choosing your provider carefully has the biggest impact. Ideally, you want to get 24/7 support and should have options for scaling in the future. But, the deal breaker for me is solid & advanced tech support available on chat, especially if you are not familiar with the very technical back-end settings. Having tech support that will jump right into the code to fix things is incredibly important. I have used many hosting providers, and some of them are great at this, while others are terrible. NameHero, my current provider, is fantastic with this. A reseller account with them is affordable, and the free transferring for multiple websites was really fast and they handled all of it, including performing quality checks.
If you have your own back-end developers, all of this may not be necessary. However, for the rest of us, advanced tech support available 24/7 on chat is absolutely essential.


There are many hosting providers – each with its own advantages and disadvantages – but it can be hard to decide which is the best one. We have researched and sorted out the most appropriate hosting providers who offer all of the services discussed in this article’s first section. Our separate report has covered in detail some of the providers you will have to choose from. The obvious winners are MechanicWeb and HostXNow who provide their plans at the most affordable price using fastest and most optimised servers.
When websites attract heavy traffic, they overwhelm the provider’s hosting capacity. Adding a CDN service is an excellent way to get your website in front of more people and grow your audience. If you have a website with high traffic, then we recommend giving BunnyCDN a try. It will store a permanent cache of your website’s static files like CSS, JS, and images in its Geo-Replicated Perma-Cache servers. These servers will provide your files to the cache of 30 servers located around the world, shielding your origin from traffic. Your origin server will be left with the task of delivering HTML files to visitors, reducing the bandwidth load at your origin by a minimum of thirty times. BunnyCDN services cost you about $1 per month. It is a much better option than upgrading the level of your subscription with your original hosting provider.
If your website is hosted on a LiteSpeed Web server, you can reduce your workload by serving HTML pages through CDN. This CDN gives 10 GB of free traffic per month, leaving your origin server to only serve dynamic HTML files for your eCommerce clients. Please read our blog post “How to Choose Your Best CDN Provider” for more in-depth technical information about the services discussed above.
Web design agencies are essential for the success of any website. Selecting a proper hosting and content distribution network provider can help improve the page loading time but to succeed, you need a professional web designer. Website design tools are increasingly commoditised, leading to an increase in the number of web designers with limited technical knowledge. Many of these designers cannot guarantee high-speed page loads for mobile devices or desktops. Our article “How to Choose a Web Design Agency” includes clear criteria for evaluating web design companies.
We’re one of the best web design agencies in Cambridge, and we specialise in speed optimisation. Our company has been in the graphic design industry for years, with over seventeen years of experience. We work hand in hand with our customers to understand their needs and create a strategy exclusively for them. We provide a comprehensive design process combined with an affordable web design package to all our clients. Please visit our website’s page about our web designs services for more information on what we offer.
Through our comprehensive solutions, we can help your business from logo designs to designing eCommerce stores. We provide a range of services, including technical SEO and relocation assistance to better web hosting. With our graphic design expertise, we are prepared to meet any other creative need that may arise.
Please contact us at if you need any assistance, and we will be happy to help you.
Visit our WordPress research portal for more information. We spoke with plugin developers and hosting providers to compile six articles about how to become a better WordPress user. A knowledgeable web design agency will make all the difference in the speed of your site. You also need a set of plugins, tools, and a good hosting provider and a fast CDN to keep up with incoming traffic. If you don’t do these basics, your website will not pass the Page Experience signals introduced by Google.