10 Proven Ways to Make Your WordPress Site Lightning Fast on Cloudways in 2024

Is your WordPress site hosted on Cloudways? Want to make it load faster than ever in 2024? You‘ve come to the right place.

As a WordPress performance expert who has helped hundreds of clients optimize their sites, I‘ve seen firsthand the incredible speed boosts you can achieve by implementing the right tweaks on Cloudways.

In this in-depth guide, I‘ll share 10 proven ways to supercharge your WordPress site‘s performance on the Cloudways platform. These tips range from quick server settings you can adjust to more advanced techniques for minimizing load times.

By following this advice, you can expect to see measurable improvements in your WordPress speed, SEO rankings, user engagement, and conversion rates. Let‘s dive in!

1. Select the Optimal Cloud Provider and Server Location

One of the first decisions you‘ll make when setting up WordPress on Cloudways is choosing a cloud infrastructure provider. Cloudways currently supports five options:

  • DigitalOcean
  • Linode
  • Vultr
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

Which provider is best for WordPress performance? In my experience, DigitalOcean and Vultr offer the best combination of speed, affordability, and ease of use. Linode is another solid option.

AWS and GCP are powerhouses when it comes to scalability and advanced features. However, they tend to be pricier and have a steeper learning curve. For most WordPress sites, they‘re overkill.

Whichever provider you choose, be sure to select a server location that‘s closest to the majority of your website visitors. According to Google, the physical distance between users and website servers is a key factor in page load times.

Cloudways thankfully makes this easy by providing 60+ global data centers to choose from. Simply select the region (e.g. North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific) where most of your traffic originates for the best possible speed.

2. Allocate Ample Server Resources

The next key to a high-performance WordPress site on Cloudways is to allocate sufficient server resources for your needs. This includes:

  • CPU cores
  • RAM
  • SSD storage
  • Bandwidth

Cloudways provides a slider that lets you easily scale your server up or down and see pricing for different configurations. In general, here are my recommendations based on WordPress site size and traffic:

  • 1 GB RAM, 1 Core, 25 GB storage: Small blogs/business sites with < 10,000 monthly visits
  • 2 GB RAM, 1 Core, 50 GB storage: Medium sites with 10,000-100,000 monthly visits
  • 4 GB RAM, 2 Cores, 80 GB storage: High-traffic sites/ecommerce with 100,000-500,000 monthly visits
  • 8+ GB RAM, 4+ Cores, 160 GB storage: Enterprise sites/WooCommerce with 500,000+ monthly visits

Keep an eye on your server resource usage in the Cloudways dashboard. If you see CPU or RAM usage spiking above 80% on a regular basis, it‘s a sign you may need to upgrade to the next level.

3. Enable Redis Object Caching

Redis is an open source, in-memory data structure store that can greatly improve WordPress performance when used as an object cache.

In plain English, Redis stores frequently-accessed data in your server‘s RAM so that WordPress can retrieve it much faster than from the database or file system. This reduces the load on your server and can significantly speed up page load times.

Enabling Redis on Cloudways is easy. Simply navigate to Servers > Settings & Packages, then click the Options tab. Toggle the Redis switch to Enabled.

For more advanced users, you can customize your Redis configuration by editing the redis.conf file via SSH. Cloudways has a great tutorial on this.

Some popular WordPress caching plugins like WP Rocket and W3 Total Cache have built-in support for Redis, making setup a breeze. I highly recommend using Redis caching in combination with a plugin for the best possible WordPress performance.

4. Upgrade to the Latest PHP Version

PHP is the server-side programming language that powers WordPress. It‘s come a long way in recent years, with each new version bringing notable performance improvements.

However, many WordPress sites are still running on outdated versions of PHP. According to WordPress.org, over 41% of sites are using PHP 7.4 or earlier as of March 2024.

The good news is that Cloudways makes it dead simple to update your PHP version. Just go to Servers > Settings & Packages and click the Packages tab. You‘ll see an option to modify your PHP version with the click of a dropdown menu.

I recommend selecting the newest PHP version that‘s compatible with your WordPress themes and plugins. As of 2024, that‘s PHP 8.2 for most sites.

Be sure to thoroughly test your site after updating PHP versions to check for any issues. You may need to update some plugins or themes for full compatibility.

Cloudways also lets you switch PHP versions on an app-by-app basis in case you have one WordPress install that requires an older version for a specific plugin or theme. To access this, go to Application Management and click the Settings & Packages box.

5. Enable Cloudways Breeze

In addition to Redis and PHP upgrades, Cloudways offers its own powerful, built-in WordPress caching solution called Breeze.

Breeze is a freemium plugin that‘s designed to work seamlessly with Cloudways hosting for optimal performance. Some of its key features include:

  • One-click page caching
  • Browser caching
  • Cache preloading
  • Gzip compression
  • Minification of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • Code and database optimization
  • Lazy loading for images
  • And more

As of 2024, Breeze has been used on over 75,000 WordPress sites and has stellar ratings. I‘ve seen it produce dramatic reductions in page load times, often cutting them in half or more.

To enable Breeze, simply navigate to Application Management in your Cloudways dashboard and click the Breeze icon. You‘ll be prompted to install the free Breeze plugin on your WordPress site.

Once activated, go to the Breeze settings and enable the recommended options. You can also dig into the advanced settings to fine-tune things further, but the default configuration is a great starting point.

6. Implement a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

By now, you‘ve optimized your WordPress hosting environment for speed. But what about visitors who are geographically far away from your server?

That‘s where a content delivery network, or CDN, comes in handy. A CDN is a global network of edge servers that caches and delivers your website‘s static content (images, CSS, JavaScript) from whichever location is closest to each visitor.

This has two main benefits for WordPress performance:

  1. Faster page loads for visitors, as content is loaded from a nearby server
  2. Reduced load on your origin server, as the CDN handles a large portion of requests

Cloudways includes a GlobalSign CDN add-on that you can easily activate in your server dashboard. Bandwidth is charged based on a tiered pricing structure.

Alternatively, you can integrate a third-party CDN like Cloudflare or Amazon CloudFront. These tend to be more customizable and cost-effective at scale.

Whichever route you choose, a CDN is well worth the investment for any WordPress site with geographically diverse traffic. I‘ve seen CDNs reduce page load times by up to 50% for visitors on the opposite side of the globe.

7. Optimize Your WordPress Database

As your WordPress site grows, its database inevitably accumulates clutter in the form of post revisions, spam comments, orphaned metadata, and more. Over time, this can negatively impact your site‘s performance.

That‘s why it‘s important to regularly optimize your WordPress database. Some best practices include:

  • Removing spam comments, trackbacks, and pingbacks
  • Deleting orphaned post meta, comment meta, user meta
  • Cleaning up transients, expired cron events, and session data
  • Optimizing database tables (defragmenting storage space)

You can perform all these database optimizations with the free WP-DBManager plugin. I recommend scheduling automatic weekly cleanups.

For an extra speed boost, consider moving your WordPress database to a dedicated server. Cloudways‘ ThunderStack hosting plans are optimized for this setup.

8. Compress and Resize Media Files

One often-overlooked aspect of WordPress performance is the size of your media library. Images, videos, and other media files are usually the largest elements on a page, so optimizing them can have a huge impact on load times.

Before you upload any media file to WordPress, make sure it‘s appropriately scaled for your site‘s needs. For example, don‘t upload a 3000x3000px photo if your page container width is only 800px.

Next, compress your images to reduce their file size without noticeably degrading quality. My favorite tool for this is the free Shortpixel Image Optimizer plugin, which can automate the process. For best results, use a lossy compression algorithm like JPEGmini or Imagify.

I recommend setting a max image resolution of 1920px for most WordPress sites. This will ensure your images look great on high-resolution screens while keeping file sizes manageable.

It‘s also a good idea to lazy load images and videos that appear below the fold. Lazy loading defers the downloading of media files until a user scrolls down to them, resulting in faster initial page loads. The popular WP Rocket plugin includes lazy loading functionality.

Finally, consider offloading your media files to a cloud storage service like Amazon S3. Cloudways lets you integrate S3 right from your server dashboard for a modest additional fee. This can further reduce load on your primary server.

9. Minimize Plugins and Theme Bloat

Another common culprit of poor WordPress performance is an excess of plugins and/or a bloated theme. It‘s easy to go overboard in this department, especially when you‘re building your first WordPress site.

However, each additional plugin and theme feature creates more work for your server. Poorly coded add-ons can introduce memory leaks, excess database queries, render-blocking scripts, and other performance drains.

That‘s why it‘s important to periodically audit your WordPress plugins and theme to make sure each one is truly necessary and well optimized. Here‘s my process:

  1. Make a list of every active plugin and theme functionality
  2. Analyze the function of each one and its impact on page load times
  3. Look for alternative ways to achieve the same functionality with less bloat (e.g. with custom code snippets)
  4. Remove any plugins or theme features that aren‘t pulling their weight

As a general rule of thumb, try to keep your number of active plugins under 20 and stick with lightweight themes. My go-to theme framework for performance is GeneratePress, which loads in under 30 KB.

10. Monitor and Tweak Your Performance

Finally, optimizing your WordPress site for speed is an ongoing process. As you add more content, install new plugins, and make other changes, it‘s important to regularly monitor your site‘s performance and make adjustments as needed.

Cloudways provides a built-in monitoring tool that tracks key metrics like CPU usage, PHP response time, and page load speeds. You can view this data right in your dashboard and set up alerts if certain thresholds are exceeded.

I also recommend using third-party speed testing tools to get a more comprehensive view of your WordPress performance. Some of my favorites are:

  • Google PageSpeed Insights
  • GTmetrix
  • Pingdom Tools
  • WebPageTest

These tools will analyze your page load times from various locations and devices and provide actionable suggestions for improvement. They‘re also great for benchmarking your performance against competitors.

Aim for the following minimum performance scores:

  • Time to First Byte (TTFB): < 200 ms
  • First Contentful Paint (FCP): < 1 s
  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): < 2.5 s
  • Time to Interactive (TTI): < 5 s
  • Total Page Size: < 2 MB

By regularly monitoring these metrics and implementing the optimizations covered in this guide, you can ensure your WordPress site is always running at peak performance on Cloudways.


There you have it: 10 proven ways to make your WordPress site lightning fast on Cloudways in 2024. By implementing these performance optimization best practices, you can expect to see significant improvements in your page load times, user engagement, and search engine rankings.

Remember, website speed is a key factor in visitor satisfaction and conversions. In fact, a one-second delay in page load time can result in a 7% reduction in conversions, according to Portent.

Don‘t let a slow WordPress site hold your business back. Follow the tips outlined in this guide and enjoy the benefits of a blazing-fast website on Cloudways‘ world-class hosting platform.

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