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In early 2024, I became aware of xCloud due to the announcement that Shahjahan Jewel was investing in it and becoming a partner. Jewel is the CEO of WP Manage Ninja… the company behind some of my favorite plugins like FluentCRM, FluentForms and FluentBooking.

I thought this was a pretty interesting move. They’re investing in a hosting company?

Then they came out and launched it using a limited-time lifetime offer. That was definitely interesting and got some attention. It is also a pretty classic move for these guys as a launch strategy.

On the flip side, xCloud is actually a brand of Startise. This is the same company behind the WP Developer brand, which has created plugins such as Better Links, BetterDocs, Templately, Essential Addons and others.

So, this is indeed a team of people who live, eat and breathe WordPress. And they came out with a hosting solution. So, the question is…

Is xCloud any good?

The hosting space is pretty crowded already. Does xCloud have what it takes to make a dent?

Well, spoiler alert! I’ve now moved 11 sites over to xCloud. I moved them away from Cloudways and I put them on xCloud instead. And I cancelled my Cloudways server.

So, it was definitely good enough for me. Better – and faster – than Cloudways.

What xCloud Hosting Actually Is…

xCloud is basically software. It is server management software that allows you to easily manage WordPress sites on virtual private servers (or VPSs).

So, you are actually hosting your sites on a VPS from Vultr, Digital Ocean, Google Cloud, Amazon, etc. You get to pick your provider.

In this way, xCloud is much closer to Cloudways in how it functions. It is also similar to RunCloud, ServerAvatar or Gridpane. Each of these companies basically provide the software and the support, but your VPS is elsewhere. GridPane is way more geared toward larger agencies and hosts.

xCloud does also offer their own servers as an option. I don’t know for sure, but I think they are outsourcing their managed servers through Vultr. And you can save a little bit of money by going through xCloud directly.

Why xCloud Over Traditional Hosting?

There are a lot of different kinds of hosting out there.

You’ve got your traditional all-in-one consumer hosts such as Bluehost, SiteGround, Hostinger, etc. These kinds of hosts are usually pretty beginner-friendly and they offer one-stop-shops for everything. They’ll manage your domains, your email, your websites, etc.

You’ve also got more expensive, managed cloud-based hosting options. This would include companies such as Rocket, Kinsta and WPEngine. These kinds of hosts usually come with limits on the number of sites, limits on disk space etc. This is due to how the cloud works (since many of these companies use Google Cloud or Amazon behind the scenes).

A virtual private server is another option. It is more of a DIY option, but it has the advantages of:

  • No limits on number of sites. Basically, it is the specs of the server which determine how much you can run on it. There are no artificial limits.
  • Much higher disk space.
  • No shared server resources.
  • Usually far more cost effective. In other words, you get more horsepower for your money.

That’s where xCloud comes in. You’re using a VPS server, so you can pack a punch with your hosting and practically do whatever you want with it. But, xCloud simplifies usage of a VPS. The usual nerdy and “raw” management of a server is turned into a pretty user-friendly experience that is much closer to other types of hosting.

VPS hosting offers more horsepower for the money and more flexibility without the hard limits. That’s why a lot of people like hosting their sites this way.

My Experience Switching To xCloud Hosting (from Cloudways)

Now, I want to first be clear here…

My web host of choice right now is Rocket Hosting. You can read my Rocket hosting review here. I love them and I host a majority of my Concierge clients as well as this very site on Rocket.

But, like anybody who is in the business, I have accounts with other web hosts as well. And, until recently, I was using Cloudways for 11 websites. Some of those sites are for some of my clients with smaller sites… and some of them are mine. These are sites that I elected to keep on Cloudways because they just didn’t warrant a host like Rocket.

Migrating sites to different hosting isn’t rocket science. I often make use of Migrate Guru to move sites and it works flawlessly in most cases. So, the process basically worked like this for each site:

  • Create a new staging site on xCloud. This ensures it is a blank install of WordPress on a temporary URL.
  • Use the built-in “Magic Login” to log right into the new WordPress and install Migrate Guru.
  • Log into the site on Cloudways and install Migrate Guru.
  • Enter the migration key and kick off the migration process. And wait. 😉
  • When the process completes, verify everything is good to go on the xCloud copy of the site. Deactivate Migrate Guru, ensure the performance plugins are enabled (more on that in a bit).
  • On xCloud, go to the staging tab and “Go Live”. I enter my site’s domain (both non-www and www version). It gives me DNS A records to the server IP. I drop those into my DNS. Click the toggle to set up SSL. And hit the button.
  • Couple minutes later and the site is live from xCloud.

Easy peasy.

But, here’s what I noticed on every site I moved over…

Every site I moved was noticably faster on xCloud than it was on Cloudways.

As this became more clear, I even tweeted this out:

Yes, I spun up a Vultr High Frequency server to use with xCloud. Same exact server specs as I was using from Cloudways. Same exact data center, in fact. So, the ONLY thing that is different is the tech stack that was installed by xCloud versus the tech stack installed by Cloudways.

xCloud is just faster. Plain as day.

Clicking around the backend of the site is faster. Everything feels instantaneous.

Again, none of these sites are huge. If I was pulling some huge BuddyBoss site over, I would have needed more horsepower. But, this was a direct apples-to-apples comparison and xCloud is simply faster.


Why xCloud Performs Better Than Cloudways

Not every VPS management panel is the same. When you use one of these things and connect up a VPS server to it, your panel is going to set that server up in a certain way and using certain software.

If you read into some of the nerdier reviews of Cloudways, one of the big items you see coming up is that their tech stack is rather old. They use a standard Apache/Nginx setup. For most sites, this doesn’t matter. But, for some it does.

When you compare that to some other server setups that are more tweaked for performance, you’ll see either pure Nginx setup and/or Litespeed. Some of your fastest hosts out there make use of Litespeed.

xCloud uses nginix instead of Apache. Benchmarks show nginx can serve content up to 2.5X faster than Apache. Configuration for such is completely automatic, so that full performance is there right when you install WordPress. There’s also full object caching already in place. Full caching already in place (without the need for something like the Breeze plugin from Cloudways).

I also like that I can openly use Vultr with xCloud. While older Cloudways accounts can still use Vultr, they’re steering most people into Digital Ocean now that they purchased Cloudways. And DO just isn’t as good, in my personal opinion.

So, better tech stack equals better site performance. Even with the same server specs in the same data center.

Working Within xCloud Hosting (And Why It’s Better Than Cloudways)

While the interface is certainly different than Cloudways, the basic experience is similar. You manage your VPS servers (whether it is just one server or serveral) and you install and manage WordPress sites on those servers.

xCloud Hosting Control Panel

But, I much prefer xCloud’s system over Cloudways. There are several reasons for that…

  • I have deeper control of the server if I wish. I even have root access, something Cloudways does not provide.
  • I have a full events log of the server, so I can see all events taking place on it.
  • I can “Magic Login” right into any site on the server. One click and I’m in. With Cloudways, it is a total disconnect.
  • I can manage and update my themes and plugins right from within xCloud. Cloudways doesn’t do that.
  • I can PHPMyAdmin into any database and do what I please. To this day, Cloudways still uses some stupid database manager that sucks while every other hosts uses PHPMyAdmin.
  • They have a file manager built right into xCloud, which is convenient. Cloudways lacks that, too.
  • WordPress sites come pre-installed with FluentSMTP and automatically hooked up to ElasticEmail, so SMTP works immediately. I can easily switch to other providers, too. Cloudways is way more tedious in this regard.
  • Cloudways handles backups for you, which is convenient. xCloud, on the other hand, has built-in connections to external storage such as Amazon S3 so you can run automated backups and store them off-site.
  • I can be invited into other “teams” on xCloud to access client sites, and remove myself when I’m done. To this day, you still cannot remove yourself from a team with Cloudways without asking support to do it for you.

In the end, I had grown accustomed to Cloudways and how they do things over the years. But, in switching to xCloud, I was reminded of the shortcomings.

The amount of convenience that xCloud provides over what Cloudways provides is quite stark. xCloud is simply better.

Downsides to xCloud Hosting?

As of this writing, xCloud is pretty new. And I’m fully aware they’re still working out some things and establishing systems within the company.

One of the places this shows up is support.

While xCloud does offer “live chat” support, it isn’t very much like a chat at all because it is very, VERY slow. They end up getting back to me via email later on.

On the other hand, one of the things I definitely appreciated with Cloudways is that I could get their live chat support on the line pretty quickly and they were responsive mostly in real-time. Cloudways is nowhere near as good as Rocket when it comers to live support, but definitely not bad. But, at this time, xCloud still has a ways to go in this department.

Lastly, we need to be realistic about just how young this company is. They don’t have the longevity and the track record of some other hosts yet. I’m pretty sure they’ll get there, but you’re not going to get the same support experience as a bigger company yet. When I first tested xCloud, there were also a few tiny bugs I came across with the panel.

I’m patient about these kinds of things. And I also appreciate the experience of the people behind xCloud. I have no problems being there to watch things get better and new features get added – especially when a team is really responsive.

xCloud Pricing (Versus Cloudways)

There are two ways you can go with xCloud:

  • Get your server and panel through xCloud (simillar to Cloudways)
  • Just use xCloud as the panel software and sign up for your VPS separately.

With Cloudways, you are basically paying double for everything. When you sign up for a VPS through Cloudways, you take the provider charge and double it and that’s what you’re paying for Cloudways.

xCloud doesn’t do that. Which means xCloud is a FAR better deal than Cloudways in almost every way.

Plus, while Cloudways will put you onto Digital Ocean, I’m fairly sure xCloud is working with Vultr. So, if you compare an xCloud managed server with 1 vCPU and 2GB of RAM, you will pay $12/mon for that with xCloud. One and done.

That same server with Cloudways will run $24/mo.

If you were to get that server directly from Vultr, it’d be $10/mo. So, you’re only paying $2/mo extra for the entire xCloud panel. Not the 2X that Cloudways would charge.

The same story holds true for any level of server. On all price fronts, xCloud is the better deal and it isn’t even close.

And if you choose to get your own VPS and be billed separately for it, then xCloud is more than generous. In fact, you can use xCloud for free for one server and up to 10 sites. If you bump up to no limits on sites, it’ll run you just $5/month per server.

So, for you people who want super cheap hosting, here’s an idea for you…

Sign up for xCloud for free. Also, sign up for a Vultr account and connect it to xCloud. Spin up a 1 CPU, 1GB RAM server (which is often plenty for simple WordPress sites). That’ll run you just $5/month.

Final Thoughts on xCloud Hosting

I gotta admit, I’m pretty happy with xCloud right now. I feel as if I’ve found a true alternative to Cloudways. In fact, it isn’t just an alternative…. it is a stark improvement on multiple fronts.

The partnership with the team behind the “Fluent” plugins is also a great touch and I expect some cool solutions down the road.

So, after a few years of using Cloudways, I recently spun down and deleted my server there.

Is xCloud going to replace Rocket for me? Nah. 😇 I mean, I’m sure I could host any site I want to xCloud without any issue, but Rocket is awesome on so many levels. I feel as if Rocket is an actual partner of mine in servicing not only my own site, but the sites of my clients who are on Rocket’s hosting.

But, something like Rocket isn’t needed for everything. That’s where I’m using xCloud now.

No doubt, the management options and the ease of managing multiple servers through xCloud would make this a pretty good option for agencies and people managing a lot of websites. The pricing is quite favorable, too.

For DIY site owners, xCloud is also a very compelling option because you can truly get some solid hosting for your money.

xCloud has done a great job of adding the simplicity of fully managed WordPress hosting to the power of a virtual private server.

Got A Question? Need Some Assistance?

Have a question about this article? Need some help with this topic (or anything else)? Send it in and I’ll get back to you personally. If you’re OK with it, I might even use it as the basis of future content so I can make this site most useful.

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