Nexcess vs Cloudways? Which Magento 2 host?

Nexcess vs Cloudways (Test 5)

Some additional testing with the porto theme installed.

All tested on the category sample page for Training–>Video Download

Cloudways: varnish, redis not active
Mode: Developer with Porto theme and sample data
Pingdom: 782ms, 80 grade, 1.3MB, 255 requests
Webpagetest: 3.17s, As/b compression, .385TTFB, 1MB 251 requests

Nexcess: redis, no varnish
Mode: Developer with Porto Theme and Sample Data
Pingdom: 73grade, 1.24s, 1.2mb, 255 requests
Webpagetest: As bcompress image, 3.42s, .618TTFB, 251 requests, 1MB

Do Direct installation, no varnish, no redis
Mode: Developer
Pingdom: 656ms, 73 grade, 1.4MB, 259 requests (category page)
Webpage test: A’s b on compress image, 3.864s, .242TTFB, 1MB, 254 requests

All sites were tested on the same test locations and at the same time of day. I tested a couple times each and they stayed consistent. It’s interesting to see the TTFB on DO win by a decent margin, however the overall load time was more. I would imagine that is probably comes to some optimization settings or possibly caching since both nexcess and cloudways either have redis or varnish functional. I have an issue with the porto theme on all the installs and they are looking at the problem. So far they are responsive to this, however I did just buy the theme. Their install and patch system is a bit wonky IMO, but I’m also not in to the development arena, so perhaps what they are doing is standard. Regardless, something isn’t quite right. I get the same issues on 2.3.3 and 2.3.4.

Nexcess is still working on the backup issue. I was hoping they would have had it fixed prior to the weekend so I could do some work. I contacted them in regards to the TTFB on their site as it typically seemed to be around 1s on the stock theme and sample data. They said it was due to DB queries from everyone that was hitting the DB on that specific cloud configuration. IMO, that seems a bit too many people pulling from a single DB instance. He said he would configure a redis setting that should help, however we are holding off on that until they get the backups resolved as I would inevitably just revert the change. Updates to come as I make more progress.

Just a thought, but you might get a more “realistic” values by switching to Production Mode. Only cause Developer Mode doesn’t take advantage of many caching tools. Therefore, you might get wildly different results.

Also, the Frontend and Backend work much differently in that Frontend relies on pulling from a pre-compiled cache and the backend actually processes a lot of real time requests and data - Especially, when it comes to product management.

Thanks for the heads up. I’ll switch over to production and rerun the latest tests once smartwave/porto gets back to me with the fix. They fixed one site, however I’m still waiting for them to tell me what they adjusted on their theme files to fix the error so I can replicate it on the other two M2 installs.

All of the below are the same configuration as the previous test, however production mode has been enabled on each instance. It is the same category page.

Pingdom: 73 grade, 1.4MB, 654ms, 260 requests
Webpagetest: As / b image compression, 4.04s, TTFB .238s, 256 requests 1MB

Pingdom: 80 Grade, 677ms, 1.3MB, 255 requests
Webpagetest: As / b image comression, 3.13s, .367s TTFB, 251 requests, 1MB

Pingdom: 73 grade, 1.29s, 255 requests, 1.2MB
Webpagetest: F-TTFB, b compress image, As rest, 3.85s, .941TTFB, 251 requests, 1MB

It’s interesting to see the difference. I would expect that DO under performance on total load time may be due to a lack of redis/varnish among other possible speed/compression tweaks. The TTFB winds hands down, but the overall speed of the DO setup needs improved.

My Conclusion

Well… After looking at just about every single hosting option out there and done as many tests as I possibly can come up with, this is my conclusion.

I think I will be moving to cloudways. They are basically a properly setup direct DO installation with customer support, and many many features already setup. This includes a staging environment as well. They have allowed me some flexibility on the server and will update packaged on the server upon request. I will run a WAF I think just to be extra safe. This is one step closer to an unmanaged server as you’re allowed more control and flexibility than at nexcess. I do not think cloudways is perfect. I still believe they have some permission issues on the application user level.

Nexcess TTFB is way too slow and they said enabling redis would fix this. It was exactly the same after they made their adjustments. They blamed it on too many people making DB queries on a given server. Nexcess’ backup features simply don’t work as one would want. You can’t restore them from the CP nor portal. They confirmed this and suggested I run everything manually, download, restore, etc…

I looked at other hosting companies that have good features and pricing for VPS managed servers with root access, however they don’t specialize at all in magento. I think that is important to have with a host so that they can know and be familiar with the M2 system should an issue arise that is related. I can’t tell you how many 8 hours days I have had in this process with setting things up, reading, researching, etc… I think from a perspective of managing an emcommerce store the following would hold true for freedom and experience needed on a specific host.

SaaS < Nexcess < Cloudways < Managed VPS w/root < Unmanaged Server (Direct DO Install)

Perhaps on my next adventure for this store it will be on an unmanaged server, however I hope that is at least 5-8 years because I do not enjoy migrating platforms one bit. There is only one proper way to do it. That is it has to be done EXACTLY RIGHT.

I hope this information is of some help to those out there in a similar situation. What fits this project and my needs may be different. Companies and setups change, so take everything in this post with a grain of salt. If my opinion changes then I will update this.

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@live4soccer7, you’ve done an incredible job here. I just want to say a huge thank you for sharing your journey along with what you learned along the way. In the near future, I’ll tidy some of this up a bit and lock it.

Thank you

Feel free to do as you please. In these types of scenarios where a bunch of research and experience w/something is needed I like to use forums. I have my own local notes as well, however putting it up online in a forum helps others, keeps me sane, and also provides an opportunity for positive criticism. I found your forum to be the best out there, honestly. It isn’t the largest, but you’re active and helping people. Your videos are fantastic and I refer to them and your documentation a lot.

I hope that many more discover your site because it deserves to be discovered.

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I am here to provide an update on my experience with cloudways so far. I’m still in development, so the site is not live yet. Up to this point, my experience has been nothing but great. Cloudways has been there to help with any assistance I’ve needed. That’s been extremely minimal 1-2 times after the very initial setup of M2. I’ll post up again after we have been live for a while. Hopefully we will be live in 1-2 months.

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I’d be really interested to learn what you’re experience is like post-production. Thanks for the updates :+1:

Of course. It’d better be good or it’ll be quite the scramble to get shifted back to nexcess.I fully expect it to be good though. I’m sure there will be a couple bumps along the way, however that should be expected. The one thing that has to be done on cloudways vs nexcess is email setup. This is something I haven’t had to do in the past. I’ve setup inboxes, however not the entire email system. I’ll probably be headed over to elastic email or another email provider to learn about that and get things going on that soon.

Cloudways does offer more for the price, I think. Nexcess somewhat hides the available resources for your cloud infrastructure, so it is hard to compare apples to apples as far as system specs. Cloudways does include elasticsearch, redis and varnish in the default plan. Nexcess does have redis included though.

I did not like the nexcess setup at all. I hope they change it. it was extremely slow and their assistance on the system was a bit lackluster. I think M2 honestly needs it’s own system and not shared resources. There’s just so much going on in M2. We got away on shared with their M1, however we have had nexcess tell us several times our store is hogging resources on the shared server. lol.

If their M2 setup would have been as good as M1 then I would not have even looked at other options. I have nothing but good things to say about my experience with nexcess on M1. It’s just too bad it wasn’t reciprocated with M2. So far, I’m happy with cloudways, but the site is still not live yet. I’m working on a few performance related things right now and just finishing things up. I’ll have a better final input on cloudways once it starts seeing traffic. I know that they really just set things up on a server of your choice and from there it’s mostly up to you, but so far it’s great.

I’ll surely post back up once it has been live for a while. Cloudways has been of great assistance as well. I did get small magento assistance a couple times with nexcess over the 8-9 years I was with them. I do not think cloudways will help at all if it isn’t strictly related to their configuration, which you can’t blame them for.

I also found cloudways will adjust server configurations based on your needs. I had a couple special requests and they did it for me. This is something you definitely couldn’t do at nexcess. I found this to be especially important as I plan to utilize a PWA on top of magento at some point and you need some flexibility for this.

Anyways, enough rambling.

For a managed server that has one heck of a lot of features for the price, I just don’t know where you can go better. I am trying an extension that required a package to be installed on the server. I contacted support and they just installed it. I’ve been on other magento managed servers and let me tell you, this is not the norm. You usually get shot down immediately.

Other than using cloudways for the new site I’m working on, I have no affiliation with them.

I use cloudways at magento 1.9 for many years, i run with very good performance 3 magento 1.9 apps in servers 1CPU/1GB RAM each. with the cloudways cache the performance is very good, 2.5s load, 200 TFB. With magento 2, i have 2 installations there, i use servers 2CPU/4GB RAM. In one of theme i face an issue with varnish cache, but except this the performance is amazing only with 40$/month each.
I suggest Cloudways!

Thank you so much for this post, I read the whole thing and your question to start was exactly what I had in mind (I needed to be able to sleep at night). I have been able to set up my own server on AWS using Ubuntu 20, Magento 2.4.1 & elastic search 7.7. But I had an issue where elastic search went down and for some reason it would not restart, after googling and trying different things I felt I made the situation worse. And it got me thinking about the future and having to deal with issues like this. I dont mind the challenge of learning but when you are dealing with customers and money, its tough to go at your own pace in resolving issues. And my next major concern was security and optimization, am not too familiar with ubuntu ecosystem and I dont want any situation where a lapse in security would threaten everything I worked so hard to build, the same goes for optimization, plus its good to know I have someone there as a failsafe.

I will be going with cloudways, they offer similar features at half the price compared to Nexcess. I spoke with a Nexcess rep to try to understand what exactly I was going to get that was different from cloudways, and it boiled down to support, but reading your post I see that its not that big an issue. And the con of shared hosting with their S and M plans didnt seat well with me.