WP Engine vs. Pagely

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Author Scott Whatley
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Have you ever wondered, “WP Engine vs. Pagely, which hosting provider would win?”

Well, wonder no more. We’ll be discussing the performance, customer support infrastructure, pricing structure and all other important hosting peculiarities of these two companies right here and right now.

How will we be doing that? Easy. We’ve taken the liberty of buying WP Engine and Pagely plans in order to run performance tests and check out customer support quality. We’ve also done a ton of research, so we have loads of information to share.

We discovered some pretty interesting things. Let’s just say when it comes to Pagely and WP Engine, conventional knowledge doesn’t cut it at all.

Before we dive into that, let’s look at an overview of both companies.

WP Engine vs. Pagely Overview

In 2010, WP Engine was founded as a WordPress managed hosting provider. The company has offices all over the world and has headquarters in Houston, Texas. If you didn’t know it before, perhaps you should know it now. WP Engine provides only managed WordPress hosting. That is the beginning and end of their service portfolio.

Pagely is also a WordPress managed hosting service provider and is actually one of the very firsts (if not the very first). The company was founded in 2006 and has managed to get some really top clients like Verizon, Disney, and PetSmart.

In terms of popularity, Pagely and WP Engine are at roughly the same level. Even though Pagely was founded much earlier, WP Engine has managed to corner a large chunk of the relatively small market of WordPress managed hosting. In fact, recently, WP Engine managed to acquire Flywheel, a fairly large managed WordPress host.

But that’s not what we’re here for. We’re here to check if Pagely is actually a better host than WP Engine or whether otherwise is the case.

And how will we be doing that? Easy, by purchasing WordPress hosting plans and running performance tests on our dummy sites.

WP Engine vs. Pagely Performance

We’ll be testing performance using uptime and speed, two very vital performance metrics.

Uptime Comparison

We set up a WordPress site on Pagely and WP Engine and maintained both sites for a four-month period. Over these four months, we ran Pingdom on the sites to see how long they stated up for. And here are our results.

MonthWP EnginePagely
September 2019100%100%
October 2019100%100%
November 2019100%99.99%
December 201999.99%100%

Our tests showed us what we already suspected to be true. In terms of performance, managed WordPress hosting platforms are always a level above the performance of Shared hosting servers.

Clearly, Pagely and WP Engine have amazing uptime. Both hosts scored an almost perfect 99.99% average uptime over our testing period.

Uptime Guarantee

Since we couldn’t find a clear winner in our uptime comparison, let’s see if we can find one in our uptime guarantee comparison.

Uptime guarantees are important because they give you a path of compensation if ever your site gets down for a considerable period of time.

WP Engine Uptime Guarantee

WP Engine maintains an impressive 99.95% uptime guarantee (it is impressive because a lot of hosts offer only a 99.9% uptime guarantee). Customers are entitled to 5% of applicable monthly fees for each hour of downtime experienced below 0.5% of the minutes in a month.

However, when calculating downtime/uptime, customers have to minus “excused uptime”. This includes scheduled and emergency maintenance, Beta services, and force majeure events. All in all, WP Engine has a decent uptime guarantee.

Pagely Uptime Guarantee

Pagely goes even higher, offering customers an excellent 100% uptime guarantee. That means that Pagely guarantees that your site will be available 100% of the time.

What if they fail this promise? Well, if your site is down for less than thirty minutes, you get 5% of your monthly credit back. If it’s higher than thirty minutes but less than an hour, you get 8% back. If it is less than 90 minutes but more than an hour, you get 12% back. If it is less than 2 hours but more than 90 minutes, you get 20% back.

After this, if downtime persists, Pagely will credit 20% of your monthly fees for every two hours of downtime experienced. This means that if your site is down for ten hours in a month, you get 100% of your monthly fee back. That’s amazing.

However, like WP Engine, Pagely also has excuses for compensation rule:

  • Service interruptions caused by customers,
  • Scheduled maintenance,
  • Forced Majeure events.

Speed Comparison

First, let’s look at the spread of data centres of both hosts.

Pagely’s Speed

Pagely has two tiers of data centers that come with their own special pricing. Tier one data centers are in Virginia, Ohio, and Oregon while tier two data centers are in California, Singapore, Tokyo, Sydney, Sao Paulo, Mumbai, Ireland, Frankfurt, London, California, and Canada.

WP Engine’s  Speed

WP Engine has data centers in London, California, St Ghislaine (Belgium), Changhua County (Taiwan), and Hong Kong.

Clearly, Pagely has a better data center spread than WP Engine, but will our speed tests reflect this?

Time to First Byte Comparison

Our speed test was based on measuring the response time or TTFB (Time To First Byte) of our sites on WP Engine and Pagely. We tested from different locations consistently over a four-month period, and here is one of our results

LocationWP EnginePagely
New York49ms96ms
Los Angeles109ms115ms

WP Engine proved to be the faster host, as we calculated an average response time of 200ms. When you consider that most of the hosts we’ve reviewed just about manage double of that, you sort of understand how impressive a response time of 200ms is.

Pagely didn’t do too bad either, recording an average response time of 246ms.

Our page load test also showed us roughly the same picture. WP Engine proved to be way faster with an average page load speed of 498ms – which is way faster than what most hosting providers offer. In our experience, the standard average load speed for pages is around 700ms.

Pagely performed well too, but not as well as WP Engine, with an impressive average page load speed of 572ms. No matter how you look at it, regardless of WP Engine’s scores, that is impressive.

Load Impact Test

To have an accurate picture of speed, we decided to check out how our sites would perform under high traffic.

We sent up to 100 virtual users to the sites and monitored speed under traffic.

As you can see, both Pagely and WP Engine managed to maintain very stable speed even during the height of traffic which was with a hundred users.

Ease Of Use Comparison

The best hosts are extremely easy to use and they find a way to give customers little or no headaches. This is even truer when it comes to managed WordPress hosting. Let’s see which host is the easiest to use.

Sign-up process

We had our WP Engine account up and running in about 5 minutes. While it doesn’t take as long with other hosts, a lot of hosts have an easier sign-up process. This is something that WP Engine has to work on.

Pagely, on the other hand, gave us a significant amount of trouble before we could sign up. It took a while. It was almost an hour before our credit card details were confirm and we had to click through a lot of “red tape” before we got access to the Atomic core (Yes, you read that right).


There are very few managed hosting service providers who make use of cPanel. Right now, we can’t even think of one. While, ordinarily, we would prefer a cPanel interface, we’ve seen that custom interfaces make the work of users easier, especially when operating a managed hosting account.

WP Engine makes use of a custom control panel called the WordPress user portal. Which, given the names that a lot of hosts give their features (we are looking at you, Gator by HostGator), isn’t a really standout name.  We used the user portal, and it made the job of setting up a site easier. It was not cluttered, and it was easy for us to navigate around.

Say what you want about Pagely, but they know how to come up with mind-blowing names. Pagely calls its user panel the Atomic control panel.

Like expected, the Atomic panel wasn’t disappointing. We had zero problems navigating it and controlling our site through it.

If we had a choice between the Atomic control panel and User portal, we would put on a blindfold and choose either one. Both control panels are really that good.

Free Site Migration

A lot of hosts answer the question of site migration in different ways. Hosts like GoDaddy and DreamHost think it is best for users to pay about $99 to migrate a single site, while hosts like HostGator and Flywheel offer a free site migration service.

What does WP Engine do? Well, unlike a lot of other managed WordPress hosting services, WP Engine doesn’t provide a free site migration service. Instead, WP Engine provides a free DIY(Do It Yourself) tool which is an automated WordPress migration plugin that helps users migrate their WordPress sites. While the tool is reasonably easy to use, as it allows you to migrate your site in eight easy steps, it still requires some technical knowledge from users.

We’ve met a lot of website owners, and a huge chunk of them want nothing to do with the technical part of hosting. So while this plug-in may be an easy way for you to migrate WordPress sites, it isn’t something that we suspect a lot of users will be pleased with.

Pagely, on the other hand, runs a free migration service. That is, all plans come with two free WordPress transfers.

Even though WP Engine’s WordPress transfer tool is free and has unlimited transfers, we suspect that a lot of users would prefer Pagely’s less stressful system.

Free Domains

A lot of hosts double as domain registrars, so they offer free domains as users sign on to new plans. But since Pagely and WP Engine are not domain registrars, they do not offer free domains.


An interesting trait that all managed WordPress hosting platform providers seem to share is a great backup policy. WP Engine and Pagely offer daily automated backups, which is a great thing. Too many hosts don’t deem it fit to add free backups to their package.

Staging Environments

Staging environments are quite useful because they stop you from making very costly mistakes. With a staging environment, you can test out your ideas and see how they’d look before translating those changes to the live site.

WP Engine provides a one-click WordPress staging environment on all hosting plans. This environment can be easily accessed through the WordPress Admin dashboard.

Unlike WP Engine, Pagely doesn’t have a “one-click” staging environment. Instead, Pagely has a command-line utility that they call Pagely Sync. This tool allows you to easily create clones of your WordPress site where you can test out wonky code before putting it on your live site.

Security Comparison

PagelyWP Engine
Free SSLYesYes
Domain privacyNoNo
BackupDaily (Auto)Daily (Auto)
DDoS protectionYesYes
Anti-spam E-mailYesYes
Anti-malwareMALDET (Daily)Daily (Auto)
Vulnerabilities scannerCustom (Daily)Custom (Daily)
SSH accessYesYes
Starting from$199/m$25.00

Customer Support

If you’re a rookie in hosting service, or even if you’re a veteran, you’ll most likely end up needing the help of customer support. When or if that day comes, you want customer support that is easily reachable and extremely helpful.

And that’s exactly what we’ll be testing.

Customer Support Channels

WP Engine has live chat support and ticketing support for basic plans. However, phone support is only for top tier plans. Live chat support and ticketing support is available 24/7.

Pagely runs a similar system. However, the only problem is that live chat support is not available 24/7. Live chat is only available on Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST. The ticketing system is available 24/7 instead.

Customer Support Test

To test wait time, we tried contacting WP Engine numerous times during our performance test period, and we were always connected to a live representative in 2 minutes or less. That’s pretty short and is up there with the best customer services we’ve reviewed.

You can take a look at our SiteGround vs. WP Engine to see which host has the best customer support infrastructure.

When we connected to live support, the representatives that spoke to us were friendly enough and they were extremely helpful. All our questions, even some nonsensical ones, were answered politely. We were not given links to articles or put on hold or transferred to another representative – which, in hosting companies’ customer support, is kind of rare.

For the most part, Pagely’s customer support was great too. Wait time was short, and the reps that we spoke to were friendly and knowledgeable.

However, since WP Engine’s customer support is online 24/7 and Pagely’s not, WP Engine is the obvious choice here.

Ticketing Support

Pagely’s ticketing support system is 24/7 (thank God). Our tickets were always returned within 24 hours or less and most of our problems were solved. We had absolutely no issues.

WP Engine’s ticketing support quality was more of the same. Our tickets were always returned within 24 hours and our problems usually found a way to be promptly solved.

Knowledge Base

WP Engine and Pagely have well-arranged articles for users. Both knowledge bases are quite expansive and there are very few issues that you wouldn’t be able to solve by consulting them.

However, the articles on Pagely’s knowledge base are noticeably skimpy. They rarely go in-depth and most times treat issues on the surface. WP Engine’s articles are noticeably better.

WP Engine vs. Pagely: Money-back Guarantee

A lot of hosting companies have the habit of forcing customers into long term contracts with cheap annual offers, and then hiking the sign-up fee by about 200% or more after two or three years have elapsed. In order not to be sucked into a long term contract, it’s important to know whether you have a money-back guarantee, and how long the guarantee is.

Pagely has a standard 30-day money-back guarantee period, which is pretty decent. Considering that there are hosts, like LiquidWeb, for example, that offer only a 14 day guarantee period, Pagely’s guarantee is pretty okay.

WP Engine manages to double Pagely’s money-back guarantee by offering a very impressive 60-day money-back guarantee. This is one of the highest money-back guarantees that we’ve ever seen a host offer. In case you were wondering, the highest money-back guarantee we’ve ever reviewed is the 97-day offer of DreamHost.

There are obvious limitations to these money-back guarantees, of course. One of them is that only the hosting fees are refundable and add-ons paid for sign-up are non-refundable.

WP Engine vs. Pagely: Plans and Pricing

To some, this may just be the crux of our comparison. No matter how great a service is, you have to be absolutely certain that you’re getting the best deal. In fact, we’re of the opinion that even poor service can be forgiven if it comes at the right price.

Since Pagely has extremely expensive plans – we mean plans that are as high as two thousand dollars per month, we’ll be comparing WP Engine plans based on price range and not tiers.

Plans Less Than $200

Pagely has only one plan less than $200 and that’s the VBurst-1 plan. Compared to that, WP Engine has two plans under $200 per month. These are the Growth and StartUp plans.

The StartUp plan is the cheapest plan of the lot and it comes with 25,000 visits per month, 10GB of local storage, 50GB of bandwidth per month, and one site. All things considered, this is a pretty expensive plan as many other hosts have plans that cost less for about the same specs. But we’re not comparing WP Engine to those other hosts, we’re comparing them to Pagely. And, as you will soon see, Pagely is a rather different breed when it comes to pricing.

The Growth plan costs $95 per month and comes with 100,000 visits per month, 200GB of bandwidth per month, 10 included sites and 20GB of storage. The Growth plan isn’t terrible and should be sufficient for most users. However, at $95, it is a bit too pricey.

But compared to the VBurst-1 plan, it is nothing.

The VBurst-1 plan which, remarkably, is the cheapest Pagely plan, costs $199 per month. Since this is the plan that we used to run our performance tests, you can see that in terms of performance, there is no great difference between it and the Growth plan.

So what does the VBurst-1 plan come with? It comes with 1 Node, a shared database, 5 sites, and one day set up.

What this means is that, basically, the Growth plan comes with double the sites than the VBurst-1 plan and still manages to cost less. That’s a sign of a bad deal if I’ve ever seen one.

Plans Above $200 per month

WP Engine has only one plan above the $200 mark and that’s the Scale plan. The plan costs $241 per month and comes with 400,000 visits per month, 50GB of local storage, 30 included sites and 300GB of bandwidth per month. For 30 included sites and 50GB of storage, this plan is really decent.

Compared to this, we have Pagely’s VBurst-2 plan. The plan costs $299 per month and comes with 1 Node, a Shared database, 15 sites and 1 day set up.

WP Engine ScalePagely VBurst-2
SSD Storage50GB50GB
Monthly Visitors400.000Unlimited
SSL CertificateYesYes
Domain includedYesYes
Anti SpamYesYes
Domain PrivacyNoNo
SitebackupDaily AutomaticDaily Automatic
Dedicated IPNoYes
Starting from$241.67$299.00

So the Scale plan still manages to cost less and have double the capacity of VBurst-2 plan. Clearly, WP Engine has the far better deal here.

Custom Plans and Plans Above $300 per month

WP Engine has no plan that costs more than $300. Instead, they have a custom plan arrangement. The Dedicated environment of custom plans ensures that users can get millions of visits per month, up to one terabyte of storage, more than 400GB of bandwidth per month, but custom plans are still capped at 30 sites.

Pagely isn’t all about that “below $300 life” though. In fact, most of Pagely’s plans cost more than $300. Fortunately, all plans above $300 are VPS plans and they range from the VPS-1 plan that costs $499 per month and comes with 35 sites to the VPS-2+ [HA] plan that costs $2249 per month and comes with 60 sites.

Of course, the argument could be made that Pagely’s plans are faster and have better performance if they cost that much. But we used the Pagely VBurst-1 plan to carry set up our dummy site and carry out our performance tests, and we can say categorically that there is no great difference between the VBurst-1 plan and WP Engine’s growth plan.

WP Engine vs. Pagely: Major Differences

  • WP Engine has only three Managed WordPress hosting plans, while Pagely has up to six plans.
  • WP Engine has 24/7 live chat support while Pagely does not.
  • WP Engine has an annual discount for plans, while Pagely doesn’t.
  • WP Engine has a sixty-day money-back guarantee, while Pagely has a theory day money-back guarantee.
  • Pagely has a better spread of data centres than WP Engine.
  • WP Engine makes use of a custom-built User Portal while Pagely makes use of an Atomic core dashboard.
  • Pagely comes with two free site transfers on every plan, while WP Engine comes with a website transfer tool instead.
  • WP has a way easier setup process than Pagely

WP Engine vs. Pagely: Our Pick

WP Engine managed to win in our speed test, customer support test, and even money-back guarantee analysis. However, what truly convinced us that WP Engine is the better choice was our pricing comparison. The fact that Pagely costs more than WP Engine and only packs about half the value showed us that WP is the better choice by far.

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