LiteSpeed Hosting as
Cloudways Alternative

Part 1

  • 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 – the best value provider
The article takes 18 minutes to read
Last modified on June 13th, 2022

This post is a part of our main research article

We wrote our main research article to inform a large community of web designers and business owners about the best inexpensive options for shared WordPress hosting. Our goal is to help you optimise asset delivery to achieve the best Core Web Vitals score by combining fast hardware, advanced security, and optimal caching.
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 them 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 as good or 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.
Our main research article provides a quick overview of the best hosting options currently on the market. The following posts continue our research article.
  • Part 1 (this post). 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 cheating and fraudulent schemes of Cloudways and its affiliate community.
  • 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.

Standard offering

A modern shared web hosting provider must offer at least the following:
  • LiteSpeed Web Server –  Web Host Professional version on AMD EPYC server; Web Host Essential is enough for the Xeon or Ryzen server with a smaller number of CPU cores
  • NVMe Storage – from 5 GB per domain
  • Disk I/O speed quota of more than 30 Mb/s; the best value is 50 Mb/s. Do not compromise on the disk speed. Ignore offers below 50 MB/s if you can.
  • 2 GB RAM or more; DDR4-2400 ECC or higher; the best value is DDR4-3200 ECC
  • 1 GB RAM per 1 CPU core is the sweet spot. You might want even more RAM for a bustling eCommerce website as each parallel PHP request will require RAM resources
  • 2 CPU cores at 3.2GHz+ frequency for AMD EPYC core; aim for 4.0 Gz+ for Intel CPU cores; 1 CPU core per 15 entry processes is a golden standard
  • The recent AMD EPYC Zen 3 CPUs at 3GHz+ provide better value for money compared to Intel’s Xeon; AMD Ryzen Zen 3 workstation-grade servers offer the best results, there is a good chance that they are three times faster than your current server; please double-check that you will have ECC RAM
  • If you want an Intel Xeon server, it must be either an E-2288G or a much faster E-2388G. It would be best to avoid older generations of Intel servers – they are too slow in comparison.
  • AMD EPYC Zen 2 Core with 32 threads (such as 7282, 7302) shows terrible performance in operations with data and string manipulation; AMD EPYC Zen 2 Core with 64 threads (such as 7502, 7532, 7542) has fixed these issues
  • Don’t take the hosting plan if the company cannot list the specific version of the microprocessor and the hosting server’s memory speed. Don’t trust generic words about fast servers; it means eight years old server with DDR3 1600 MHz RAM at best
  • Simultaneous entry processes – aim for 16 per busy website or 4 for a simple website
  • CloudLinux with CageFS – to uniquely encapsulate each customer on the shared server
  • cPanel access
  • Automatic daily remote offsite backups using JetBackup
  • Lets Encrypt – free SSL
  • Softaculous WordPress installer/staging environment
  • Capability to run Cron Jobs using a command-line program such as curl
  • Persistent object cache like Memcached Server or the Redis object cache for the eCommerce website has diminished in importance when LiteSpeed Cache Engine and OPcache are used
  • Malware scan and web application firewall (WAF) – Imunify360/ ModSecurity is the industry norm for cPanel accounts; you might also find an even better option like CXS/ImunifyAV+ with added server-level CSF WAF
  • MailChannels SMTP relay service with IP blacklist protection – for improved email deliverability; MailChannels is using a spam filter to stop your naughty neighbours before the origin IP gets blacklisted
  • HTTP/3 service enablement; only LiteSpeed Web Server supports production-ready HTTP/3; this will give you a further boost when using CDN
  • Free migration support from another provider
  • Internet network uplink connection of at least 1 Gbps via renting a server from a reputable Data Center integrated into global Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)
  • Cloudflare Railgun integration was important in the past, but its benefit is not required on LiteSpeed servers, which cache the dynamic part of HTML and store it as static files. *
*  As of June 2021, CDN is in the production stage, with the cache lifetime extended from several hours to a day. The Edge delivery of HTML files via is tightly integrated with the LiteSpeed caching plugin even for dynamic pages. You should use instead of Cloudflare CDN.
As a final check, verify that your hosting provider is listed as a partner on the LiteSpeed website. This is not something to be wholly relied upon, but most mid-sized companies will take care of such details.

LiteSpeed and NVMe SSD combo

You have to consider the hosting configuration based on LiteSpeed WebServer software and SSD disk with a high-speed PCIe socket for Non-Volatile Memory Express interface protocol (NVMe).  Such a winning formula boosts about four times the speed of specific internal processes on a server, removing the bottleneck in its performance. Servers with such improved technical specifications will carry heavy traffic with more internal resources and degrade their response time more gracefully. It is not just empty words – sensible shared hosting providers increase fourfold the number of simultaneous entry processes and the disk I/O speed quota when introducing this improved configuration to their offerings.
Servers hardware features
NVMe SSD looks like a RAM, not a disk
LiteSpeed Web Enterprise provides additional WordPress Brute Force Attack Protection. A “brute force” login attack is an attack on a website that attempts to gain access to the site by repeatedly guessing the username and password. WordPress is the most popular CMS and, therefore, a frequent target of this type of attack. LiteSpeed protects shared hosting WordPress environments from large-scale brute force attacks that have the potential to bring down entire servers.

CPU speed and entry processes

Please be aware that any request in WordPress is single-threaded and uses only a single CPU core. The faster the thread, the quicker the PHP request or MySQL query to the database will run. High-frequency CPUs provide the highest single-threaded performance.
If your website requires a high amount of server resources and CPU processing power, you first have to check the number of allocated simultaneous entry processes on your plan. It is as critical as the number of available CPU cores. Of course, it is useful to have more than one CPU core for the busy website with simultaneous concurrent requests coming from different visitors. It is unlikely your case unless you have more than 50,000 clicks per month. Even then, the higher the clock speed of the CPU, the faster your page will be generated.
You will also see increased RAM allocation with the increased number of available CPU cores on a good hosting plan. It is common to have a similar number of GBs of RAM and the number of allocated CPU cores (such as 2GB of RAM and 2 CPU cores). Adding more RAM per CPU will help to serve multiple simultaneous PHP requests. You want to be able to store the entire database of your website in RAM and have extra space in the RAM for the object cache and OPcache. If you keep many domains under your account, then having more RAM could be beneficial. In this case, more RAM is needed to store all databases of different websites.
The number of allowed simultaneous entry processes is the crucial parameter determining the speed of processing the uncashed requests.  An entry process allowance is the number of visitors you can serve at the same time when someone is accessing your website. If a user accesses a page of your website, that is a single-entry process. When this exceeds the maximum number of the entry process, you will likely receive an Error 503 when a page is accessed. It usually happens if a long queue is created when many users start accessing your website’s pages simultaneously.
It would be best to have about 16 entry processes per crowded eCommerce website. Your server will cope perfectly fine with delivering cached webpages using just four entry processes. The rule of thumb is to have about 1 CPU core per 15 entry processes. As a result, you have to watch that the number of CPU cores is scaled up sufficiently to reflect the entry processes’ allowance. A modern single logical CPU core on the LiteSpeed Web server should be capable of enduring a continuous load of up to ten HTTP requests per second.
Kinsta hosting corporation, the darling of so many WordPress bloggers, provides four entry processes per website (they call them PHP workers) on their Business 1 plan, which cost $100 per month and is restricted to 5 domains. As you will see in our separate study, $20 per month will buy you a service with 100 entry processes. To have 16 entry processes per website, you should upgrade to the $1,500 per month Enterprise 4 plan on Kinsta.

Disk I/O speed

Another issue to check is your Disk I/O speed allowance on the plan. It determines how fast your website and scripts are allowed to perform input/output (I/O) operations per second on your hosting server’s disk when a visitor hits your website. If you are throttled to a low disk I/O speed, your website and scripts will always perform slower. It will not matter how much storage, CPU or RAM you have. Avoid values below 30 MB/s. Even 20 MB/s is too low, and you should push a hosting provider to increase it before signing for their plan – or walk away. The current gold standard in our study is 50 MB/s. About 100 MB/s is the most appropriate value for NVMe SSD storage speed, but hosting providers are too conservative, sometimes incompetent, or just unemphatic to pass the increased speed to their users.
CloudLinux recommends using a speed restriction of 4 MB/s for the I/O speed for the HDD drives. It is shocking to find that another darling of so many WordPress bloggers, A2Hosting, is applying such ancient limits of 4Mb/s on their NVMe servers, two generations apart from HDD technology and 50 times faster. The company is followed by Hostinger, who is offering a terrifying 1 MB/s speed on their Business WordPress plan. Hostinger updated its disk speed to 10 MB/s but only on its most expensive WordPress Pro plan (also traded as Woo Premium and Cloud Business Startup) in August 2021.

WordPress Caching

LiteSpeed Cache Engine

LiteSpeed Cache Engine is a built-in feature of LiteSpeed servers; it provides powerful acceleration of dynamic content. An LSCache plugin submits web application rules to LiteSpeed Cache Engine. Cached files are not stored in the WordPress file structure, and the plugin does not execute any of the caching tasks.
LiteSpeed Cache works in a similar way to Varnish. It implements server-side caching. Dynamic content that is not limited to PHP pages is cached by LiteSpeed. Unlike Varnish, LiteSpeed has integrated its Cache Engine into its Web Server, eliminating a layer of reverse proxy. This results in higher efficiency for static content.
If needed, LiteSpeed can store pages in a public cache, a private cache, or it can leave a page uncached. Simple websites often work with public caching only, offering the same cached page to every visitor. If a specific version of a page can be shown to a specific user multiple times as a static page, that page is cached privately. A shopping cart is a classic example of data that should be privately cached. If the response is different each time the page is requested (and therefore cannot be served as a static page to anyone), the page should not be cached.
By combining public and private content on one page, ESI (Edge Side Includes) markup lets you manage the page cache dynamically. Typically, you start with a public page and then add “punched holes” for private or non-cached content. Each element of the page can be handled separately, and you can cache it in the public cache, in the private cache, or not cache it at all.
ESI means that you cache most of the page publicly and add dynamically generated specific content that is different every time the page loads. Most of the HTML, inline scripts, images, etc. remain static, even if several different users access a user-specific page.
An example of this would be a shopping page with a shopping cart widget. The content of the widget needs to be cached privately because it differs from customer to customer, but the rest of the shopping page is the same for everyone. In this case, you would cache the page publicly, while using ESI to cache only the widget privately. The mixed content would be reassembled and delivered together. Using ESI, LiteSpeed Cache Engine can fully serve dynamic web pages from cache without the need for backend server intervention. This way you can serve more eCommerce visitors without increasing CPU resources on your hosting plan.
Edge Side Includes in LiteSpeed
Edge Side Includes in LiteSpeed
By combining HTTPS/HTTP2 termination, caching, and web server into a single tool, LiteSpeed offers a higher level of simplicity and ease of maintenance compared to Varnish. Some advanced paid caching plugins can also use ESI markup, but they need to call backend PHP scripts to populate dynamic content.  As described in the following section, such calls can be accelerated using Redis or Memcached in combination with OPcache. However, they cannot match the efficiency of LiteSpeed’s server-side caching.
The loading of  hybrid ESI dynamic pages is now greatly improved.  LiteSpeed Cache 4.0 introduces Guest Mode for WordPress. The site will load quickly on a user’s first visit to improve the Core Web Vitals Score for your complex eCommerce site. Guest Mode allows you to defer decision making for user-specific content and immediately serve a default cached version. For this first visit only, there are no caching variations and no ESI. You do not have to worry about whether the visitor is logged into your site or not.
Such a page loads quickly because the system does not have to spend time processing ESI. It simply finds the “public” page in the cache and serves it. During the HTML loading process, an Ajax call is made. This is the point at which any factors that were ignored are processed and the “correct” version of the page is loaded with ESI for that user.
The LiteSpeed Cache plugin is designed to understand the rules of the app and implement public, private and ESI caching as needed. Hosting providers should enable ESI on their server, but most will do it automatically.
Full automatic ESI integration with WooCommerce is one of the benefits of using LiteSpeed servers. The WooCommerce plugin itself specifies which part of the page is suitable for processing ESI markup, and LiteSpeed takes this into account when generating the page. Most caching plugins for WordPress do not include ESI. With LiteSpeed, you get advanced ESI caching for free, making LiteSpeed webhosts the ideal platform for hosting WooCommerce.
Edge-Side-Includes is an XML markup language that was developed to be inserted into HTML to instruct the CDN to combine static and dynamic content. With all other caching plugins like WP Rocket, ESI must be implemented in the CDN. For Cloudflare CDN to work, you need a web host that supports Railgun. Railgun performs delta compression on requests received from a web server. If the page has ESI enabled, the Railgun listener sends only the dynamic difference. The CDN caches the public portion of the page and retrieves the rest from the destination defined in the Edge-Side-Include block. To send the final web page to the visitor, you will have to use Cloudflare Workers to combine both the static and dynamic parts. Using Workers, your software developer must create bespoke custom logic right within the Edge.
Cloudflare Railgun is not yet compatible with RedHat 8, CentOS 8, AlmaLinux 8, and CloudLinux 8 because Cloudflare has not updated its software. As a result, many providers that offer Railgun will not be able to use it. You are not alone if this story sounds more complicated than switching to LiteSpeed Web Hosting.
I’m slowly migrating a few servers to OpenLiteSpeed and am happy with the results I see. Lower memory usage and still happy customers. I don’t see any direct performance gains, but when a few sites get A LOT of traffic, there’s no stress anymore. One of the biggest reasons for switching to OpenLiteSpeed is the lower server load during peak times. This alone allows us to run a few more sites on one server, which positively impacts our bottom line.
PS. Saved your site, you have some nice write ups!

Object cache

Many web designers are not even aware of the role of ESI (Edge Side Includes) in delivering dynamic content. By default, ESI is turned off in LiteSpeed Cache, and only knowledgeable users will implement it on their websites. If you use ESI, you do not have to worry about object caching. However, there may be cases where the ESI approach fails (a good example is BuddyBoss), and you need to revert to the old-fashioned Nginx-era approach, such as using an Object Cache.
It seems that people think that Redis object cache is a magic bullet to improve WP site speed. This is not true. Object cache will improve performance for ~4-6% of WP sites on a typical shared server. For the rest, it will be no performance improvement or worst performance. More exactly – the performance degradation would be seen on ~20% of WP sites. So adding object cache is not a solution. Knowing where it should be added is the major skill.
Object cache such as Memcached, Redis, or OPcache can be activated, but it is not touched if you use a full page cache such as LSCache with ESI. Hosting providers use LiteSpeed Web Server Enterprise, but smaller private VPS servers often use free OpenLiteSpeed software. Note that it does not provide ESI support unless used with CDN. In the end, the page will be served from a CDN node cache instead of OpenLiteSpeed cache, and ESI will work there. If you are not using ESI with LS Cache or using another caching plugin like WP Rocket, you may need Memcached or Redis, and OPcache.
Most cache plugins are automatically considering cart and checkout pages uncacheable. Pages with such private content are dynamically generated each time and served uncached.
For eCommerce WordPress sites with many requests for dynamic HTML pages, adding a persistent object cache like Redis in front of your MySQL database can boost performance and reduce entry processes load. Without a persistent object cache, MySQL database queries will be executed for each request even if the result is identical to a previous query. Redis stores the results of database queries in the RAM, which allows PHP to grab the results of queries that have already been executed. This object caching method allows PHP workers to conserve CPU resources and spend less time fulfilling a request because it removes the need for repetitive database queries.
Redis or Memcached will boost performance mainly on old servers with misconfigured SQL databases. Testing the efficiency of database access can be done with the WPBenchmarking plugin. Test results for many hosting providers are recorded in the Benchmarking section of our research paper. Our tests suggest about 10 times faster database access on modern servers like Ryzen 9 5900x provided by MechanicWeb and by HostXNow. In combination with OPcache, such fast and properly tuned hardware is sufficient for most eCommerce websites. If your database is loaded into RAM, PHP database queries accelerated by OPcache will be almost as quick as accessing an object cache on the same RAM.
Memcached or Redis will accelerate typical websites on the fast servers by only 5%, making it a far less critical issue. In contrast, if you are using crap hosting like WPEngine or Raidboxes, you should put more emphasis on the object cache. In fact, Memcached or Redis can disguise your otherwise inefficient performance in accessing the database.
CloudLinux released a Redis Object Cache module as part of its WP Optimization Suite for CloudLinux Shared Pro at the end of 2021. The new Object Cache module offers a web interface to let users configure Object Cache for any website, and it works with WordPress plugins. WP Optimization Suite lets you optimise caching for partial pages and pages from authenticated users. Users have their own RAM space for the object cache that is not accessible by other users, as a part of their LVE limit. CloudLinux will add WP Optimization Suite support for LiteSpeed in the second half of 2022 with a stable BETA release. By the end of 2023, LiteSpeed hosting providers will offer secure Redis to their shared hosting clients. Most 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.
Most shared hosting providers will soon allow to use the Redis for free but heroic Kinsta charges $100 per month per website for such a privilege. It is not straightforward to offer Redis services on the cloud platforms in which RAM is allocated only when requested by the new process. Kinsta needs to run one Redis container per user account and set up a cluster of these containers. Providing this service requires detailed knowledge of Redis and the allocation of dedicated cloud resources. It is also based on using relatively costly Redis Enterprise Cloud software.
Redis is open-source software that offers various security improvements to its latest versions, including reduced attack surface for hackers, encrypted communication channels, and permissions management. However, by its nature, open-source software like Redis can be configured to use all or none of the available security features. When it comes to using Redis in shared servers, providers should review their security settings and add additional mechanisms.
Be careful with your decision to use Redis on shared hosting. Unless you are positive that your hosting provider has a skilled and highly professional sys-admin team, please don’t go for it. And don’t simply trust a small host provider. There is a high chance that their Redis configuration will lead to an insecure environment in which different users will be able to read and rewrite each other’s Redis memory. Separate Docker containers for separate customers will reduce security risks in shared hosting. However, dedicated Redis instances for individual users in a shared hosting environment is rarely done. Server-wide Redis can have problems if an incorrectly set password policy is in place.
The main advantage of Redis is that it is best in single-tenant environments, such as when a single website uses an entire VPS or cluster of servers. However, you can use Redis on a shared server if you have confidence in the security team of your hosting provider.
The memory pools of Object Caches such as Redis and Memcached might be shared and there is a high risk of cache poisoning (which is regarded as a security risk) by other users. Object Caches configuration is extremely complex and involves many systems, so it is possible that many hosting providers are using shared pools and advertising Object Caches without the risks being disclosed to the end user.
Do not turn on Redis or Memcached without checking with technical support to see if these options are supported. Even if you enable the Redis PHP extensions in the cPanel for connections, what exactly will you connect to?
If your hosting provider does not offer object caching, you may consider using an Object Cache plugin Docket Cache that does not require Memcached or Redis to work. This plugin aims to convert objects into plain PHP code easily stored in the filesystem and loaded from there.  Working together with OPcache extension in PHP it can improve performance on slow servers and reduce server load. It can be used with other plugins like LiteSpeed Cache as long as the Object Cache is turned off in the LiteSpeed settings.


Before executing a PHP script, the PHP interpreter reads the script from the filesystem, compiles the contents into bytecode, and only then executes the bytecode. OPcache just stores that bytecode in shared memory on the system, and the next request for that specific PHP file (if cached) can skip the reading/parsing/compiling phases, making it significantly faster  at the expense of using some shared memory space.
OPcache only stores PHP, not the results of database queries. When you open a WordPress file, you will see many ‘include’ statements followed by a .php filename. When the server parses a PHP script, it includes all PHP scripts mentioned in the include statements into the parent script and then compiles it into bytecode so CPU can read it directly. Any database query in this PHP file will be executed if the PHP parser uses cached bytecodes. OPcache does not store database query results or data. For this reason, OPcache is safe to use with WooCommerce.
Professional hosting providers rarely use OPcache as their default caching layer. Since no PHP code is executed when serving user requests from the server cache, OPcache has no relevance when serving fully cached static web pages. OPcache might allocate too much RAM to cache precompiled PHP code on a complex eCommerce website. To control the use of RAM, the website owner must be given the freedom to decide whether or not to use OPcache along with Redis or Memcached object caches. Hosting providers who turn on OPCache by default on their servers are aware of the “professional” tests performed by numerous naive and ignorant WordPress bloggers.
PHP 8 will level the playing field. PHP 8 adds a JIT compiler to its core, potentially speeding up performance. The impact on real-world web applications will be small, but most hosting providers will configure JIT properly. JIT will only work if OPcache is enabled. We therefore assume that all hosting accounts will come now with OPcache extensions preconfigured in PHP 8.
Since LSCache prepares the cache of all static resources, it is not necessary to run PHP for static pages and therefore there is no need or benefit from using OPcache for simple static webpages. Using OPcache will be beneficial for a busy eCommerce website. By compiling and caching a PHP script, OPcache improves the performance of any non-cached dynamic page.  Combine OPcache with Redis/Memcached for optimal performance when serving dynamic web pages. Small sites can be faster with Memcached. Those that require more resources should use Redis. Currently Redis on shared hosting is insecure, but that will soon change with the new Redis Object Cache module developed by CloudLinux team. OPcache speeds up PHP code performance by caching compiled codes in memory, but it requires more RAM, so you run the risk of hitting resource limits. You can enable OPcache on LiteSpeed server, but in the rare case if you experience problems with RAM, you should disable OPcache.
Everything runs on WordPress. It has Memcache and the LiteSpeed plugin, and yes, it’s NVMe and OpenLiteSpeed. But even with all that, before OPCache I had a few spikes a day. Now I do not. No spikes in 5 days. My larger sites have moderate traffic, but also lots of editors constantly adding and updating posts throughout the day. They used to make the server crawl. Now: nothing.
OPcache is the hidden gem people often miss.

Don't forget to use a CDN

If you still have a high load on a server, you have to implement a simple mitigation step described in our separate post. Turn on the CDN to serve your website. After that, your server will only be burdened by requests to provide infrequently used resources.
Even if this is not enough, don’t rush yet to use the dedicated web server. Choose Ecwid or WP Shopify plugin instead of WooCommerce – and your Shopping Carts pages will be served by their dedicated fast servers, making your website free to deal with the rest of the load.
The majority of readers of this post don’t have enough traffic to worry about OPcache, Redis, and Memcached. They should focus on choosing the right CDN. If you have enough traffic, select CDN which is tightly integrated with the LiteSpeed Cache Engine.
Consider using BunnyCDN’s geo-replicated Perma Cache for low traffic sites. Your static assets will be delivered via local BunnyCDN PoPs or directly from BunnyCDN storage centers on each continent, in the case of a cold cache in a local PoP. For such brilliant services, you need to pay only about $1 per month. In addition, you need to set up LiteSpeed Cache plugin to have your static HTML files delivered via free CDN. In this case, your origin server will be used primarily for editing your website files and occasionally for delivering cached HTML files that have expired on the CDN. Even if you choose a hosting provider with relatively low resource allocation, you can rest easy knowing that your speed score is largely determined by the BunnyCDN and CDNs, as well as by the optimisation of all assets by the LiteSpeed Cache plugin. CDN is an essential extension for OpenLiteSpeed. It provides functionality like ESI and the Guest mode at the front-end of a CDN node. LiteSpeed Enterprise implements these things in the back-end of your origin server.
OpenLiteSpeed is not suitable for shared hosting. It still lacks some features such as Apache directive support and full htaccess support. OLS does not update the htaccess file if the htaccess file is changed. You can do much more than redirects with .htaccess, but with OLS you can only do rewriterule and rewritercond. It depends on how complex your “complex application” is, but as long as it doesn’t heavily rely on Apache directives or environmental setups, it should work fine with OLS.
Please note that ESI will work on CDN with OpenLitespeed webserver. In the end, the page will be served from a CDN node cache instead of OpenLiteSpeed, and ESI will work there. When it does not require ESI, Guest mode operates on OLS alone. Otherwise, it will work with CDN. So, ESI with Guest mode are implemented on the front-end of node if you are using OpenLiteSpeed webserver.

The end of the customised software era

In your hosting provider selection, don’t force yourself to be restricted to using massive hosting corporations aiming to maximise servers for money. Enthusiasts have created many small hosting companies in the UK and USA with the whole idea to be affordable and fast. They aim to monitor the usage and utilise servers below 60% for the peak traffic to provide breathing space for the growing websites. Their technical support team does not treat clients as just records in the Excel spreadsheet. So, if you behave professionally and politely, they will do everything to keep you as a happy customer.
Please be aware of a strategic problem facing the hosting industry. For the last 16 years, it was dominated by the Nginx (pronounced “engine X”), a specialised web server software developed in 2002 by the Russian software developer Igor Sysoev. It is used by about 50,000,000 websites and is very hard to install and configure on the webserver. All important names in the hosting industry became software developers powerhouses tasked to customise and tune the Nginx. They employed many people and were involved in the acquisition spree to develop and customise, further develop, and further customise. Now all these efforts are waisted – LiteSpeed Web Server has vastly outperformed Nginx. About 5,000,000 recent websites use LiteSpeed now, with the tipping point reached somewhere in 2020.
LiteSpeed Web Server does not require much customisation from the hosting provider, with all development efforts undertaken by the privately-owned LiteSpeed Technologies The software uses the same configuration format as Apache HTTP Server and is compatible with most Apache features. LiteSpeed is already an industry-standard supported by most small hosting providers. Larger corporations have a hard time to accept the defeat. They still try to put a lot of marketing effort and directly bribe numerous WordPress bloggers to promote their outdated bespoke tuned Nginx hosting services.
WordPress HTTP/2 Performance by Server
LiteSpeed Web Server boost to the PHP requests processing
In the last decade, it was indeed tricky to select the best server hosting provider. They all ran the home-tuned customised caching and web server software, and some were indeed better than others. Nowadays, everything is much simpler. If the hosting provider offers standard third-party software on their server, it will be your best choice. We have listed all the essential features in the section above, but let’s summarise them again: CloudLinux CageFS, cPanel, Redis, daily off-site backup using JetBackup, Softaculous, Imunify360 or CXS/ImunifyAV+, ModSecurity, MailChannels, LiteSpeed, MariaDB, Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate, HTTP/3. This list became an industry standard and significantly simplified setting up and maintaining the hosting server. Unless you are in a charity business, you should run away from any hosting provider who cannot accept a defeat and is still mourning about a decade of development invested in optimising the Nginx server.
The hardware of a server is the main difference between modern hosting providers embracing new software suites. Aim for high speed in CPU, RAM and disk I/O speeds to have web servers that are as speedy as possible. Professional third party software and modern hardware – all you need for your website to run smoothly with nothing slowing it down. It has nothing to do with the name or size of your hosting provider. It’s more about what Intel Xeon, AMD EPYC, AMD Ryzen, NVMe SSDs, or DDR4-3200 RAM hardware they offer to run your processes. Be sure that these days any hosting provider is renting a space for their servers at a reputable Data Center fully integrated into global Internet Exchange Points (IXPs).
Nginx vs LiteSpeed
However, as a user, you have to be aware of a reduced barrier to setting up a hosting provider business, encouraging less experienced providers to enter the market. The best modern server can be easily rented from a reputable Data Center. For instance, the best offers listed in our separate study can be replicated in the UK, Germany, France, Canada, the East Coast (Washington), and the West Coast (Portland) by using the OVH Data Centers. They offer ultrafast servers such as Intel Xeon E-2388G and AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Zen 3.  The Intel Xeon E-2388G servers are also available from PhoenixNAP data centres in Singapore, Amsterdam, Chicago, the West Coast (Phoenix), and the East Coast (Washington). The best value fastest server hardware based on Zen 3 AMD Ryzen 9 5950x is available from Hetzner in Germany and Finland.
Any person capable of installing third-party software on a server will be qualified to set up a web hosting business. He will provide a good uptime as the server health will be monitored by the Data Center.  The server will have a professional-grade 1 GBps uplink to the network, and you will measure a very fast time-to-the-first byte (TTFB). Everything will work reasonably well as is expected from the commercial-grade third-party software. The quality of the technical support team is the most difficult issue to evaluate. Try to find reviews of the company. If all reviews are positive, it can be a bad sign. You want to have some real-life reviews rather than the one engineered by the hosting provider himself.
The low threshold of setting up the web hosting business implies a low threshold to winding it down. So, hosting with a new company might be riskier than staying with the established micro-business with about five years of serving clients under their belt.

Next steps

Our main research article provides a quick overview of the best hosting options currently on the market. The following posts continue the research article.
  • Part 1 (this post). 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.
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 winner is MechanicWeb 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 design. 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.