WP Engine Review – For High-End, High-Performance WordPress Hosting
WP Engine is a little bit different than some of the other hosting companies we’ve featured and reviewed in the past, which is perfect for a lot of users, but not ideal for certain other use-cases. Let’s take an in-depth look at what sets them apart, where they excel, and who may want to avoid them altogether in this WP Engine review that has been designed to cover all of the most important things you need to know before buying webhosting, but that also makes everything easy to understand even if you aren’t an expert when it comes to this sort of stuff.
There are so many hosts to choose from, and some of them are frankly quite similar. At the end of the day, you’re renting hardware. The software that’s included on it, and the level of support you get, is generally what distinguishes hosting companies, not to mention how much power the hardware has, or how many other people are sharing it with you. Those are the main factors that will influence the quality (and price) of a hosting package.
What sets WP Engine apart is that their absolute obsession is to host WordPress sites. They’re specialists in every sense of the word. This is beneficial for you, as a customer, if you plan on using WordPress. It means that WP Engine’s support staff is going to be intimately familiar with all aspects of WordPress, rather than having a more generalized knowledge like you may find with other hosting companies.
Now, obviously, if you aren’t planning on using WordPress for your website, then WP Engine is not a good choice for you. If you DO plan on using WordPress, then it’s quite possible the best option out there for a high-performance website.
What Sets WP Engine Apart?
Right off the get-go, when you look at their different plans, you’ll see that they tell you exactly how many resources your server comes with, and this is always nice because there aren’t any surprises. You’ll see less expensive hosting companies offering unlimited plans, which we’ll discuss more in a few moments, but basically, it’s misleading so we have to give WP Engine props for being upfront about exactly what you can expect.
Not only does that make it easier to plan your site’s growth, but it also means that you don’t have to worry about some other site coming along and hogging up all of the resources, which would cause your site to perform slower, which in turn can hurt things like conversion rates and visitor retention. All in all, they’re doing things in a transparent way that ultimately leads to better service and better performance for all of their customers. Even if a competitor offering “unlimited” plans looks better on paper – it’s not.
Which Plan Should You Choose?
WP Engine offers 4 different WordPress hosting packages, and an additional option for enterprise-level customers (Think like big online stores, popular newspapers and magazines, etc.) We’ll skip past the enterprise level stuff, which leaves their Personal, Professional, Business, and Premium options. The names all sound kind of similar except for personal, and don’t really explain who each plan caters so, so let’s go over them one by one.
The most affordable and smallest plan they offer is the Personal hosting plan, which comes with a risk-free 60 day period during which you can test things out, and get your money back if you don’t like it.
This plan allows for one WordPress installation, so essentially one website can be hosted with this plan at a time. If you need hosting for more than one website, you’ll want to look at either upgrading to the Professional tier, or purchasing additional Personal plans, whichever is most viable.
Knowledge is Power
One thing you’ll notice in all of WP Engine’s plans is that they give you a specific amount of visitors per month that your website can support. This limit ensures that every customer knows exactly what their site can handle, as opposed to other hosts that offer “unlimited” plans but in reality will shut down your site if you’re using too many resources (In other words, they call it unlimited, but if your site gets very popular, you’ll quickly realize that it’s not unlimited at all.)
The same applies to storage, you know exactly how much storage you have as opposed to some hosts that offer “unlimited” storage, which is a huge plus because once again, there’s no such thing as unlimited storage in reality.
The Personal plan is great for sites getting off the ground, with upwards of 1000 visitors a day. That’s quite a lot of monthly visitors for most websites, many people won’t need any more than that. For sites that are more popular, chances are they’re doing great business and can afford the upgrade to the Professional plan without too much worry, especially since it opens the flood gates for up to 100,000 visitors.
The Professional plan from WP Engine is similar to the Personal plan, except it allows for twice as much storage and more visitors per month, along with more websites.
Since the Professional plan comes with support for up to 10 websites, it makes sense to upgrade from Personal if you’re hosting 3 or more sites. Now, on the other hand, if you were to purchase three Personal plans, you’d end up with 10gb more hosting in total, but chances are you won’t be using anywhere near your limits when it comes to storage place anyways.
Basically, the best option is to just speak to them, and they’ll help you choose which one to go with, or start with Personal if you have one site and Professional if you have more than 1 and just go from there. WP Engine can also help create custom plans, which we’ll discuss in just a moment.
Up a step from their Personal and Professional plans is WP Engine’s Business plan, which is still in a shared environment like the first two options, but allows for a lot more websites, more storage, and hundreds of thousands of more visitors per month.
In addition to supporting a higher number of websites, visitors, and storage, the Business plan also has a feature to help you measure the performance of all of your content, a version of Google Analytics that has been optimized specifically for WordPress sites to help you get the most important data which will have a huge influence on how you grow your site to make the absolute most out of your hard work.
Also, it comes with a launch readiness assessment, where WP Engine will help you ensure that everything is ready to rock and roll and that you don’t have any unexpected surprises during launch, which can be catastrophic, but happen to the best of us. This extra layer of attention to detail can make all the difference in a successful product, business, or website launch.
Premium & Enterprise
Finally, we’re getting into the premium and enterprise plans by WP Engine. They both allow for 25+ sites to be hosted on them, and come with dedicates servers/clusters for peak performance.
The Premium plan allows for 100-300GB of storage, whereas Enterprise can support up to a TB. They both support millions of visitors, come with additional features for superior redundancy and uptime, and finally the Enterprise plan also includes 24/7 ticket support, which you don’t get with any of their other plans.
You’ll need to reach out to WP Engine to find out about pricing for their top-tier plans, but generally speaking anywhere from Personal to Professional is perfect for most website owners who are looking for high-level performance and service from high-end servers, but with the ease and simplicity they’ve come to expect from managed WordPress hosting.
How Fast is WP Engine?
This is a very fast, high-performance hosting company and the speed tests prove it. Check out the following Pingdom test results that show a sample WordPress site loading in just over half a second. Also, this is right out of the box, without doing any tweaking or installing any performance boosts.
Performance and Features
In addition to what we’ve already discussed, WP Engine’s plans all offer free SSL certificates which are crucial for security and privacy, especially if you’re taking payments from your site.
Furthermore, Google likes to see sites using SSL and it could very well help your position in the search results, bringing more visitors and potential customers to your website.
An Amazing Guarantee
Once again, all of their plans come with a 60 day guarantee so you can actually try it on for size, use it for a few months, and really get a feel for the service.
One of the reasons that shared hosting environments can be slower than other types of hosting is because the abuse is rampant from bad actors running sites hosting files, torrents, who knows what else, and it slows things down for everyone else in the server.
It’s like if you have bad neighbors that party all the time and don’t take care of their homes at all, it’s going to damage the neighborhood – servers aren’t so different! The solution to that is to have limits in place as to how many resources each customer can use, and also to charge a fair price that allows them to avoid having to oversell their servers. Overselling is when a host has A LOT of customers sharing the same server. The host saves money by not having to buy as many servers, but performance suffers drastically for everyone.
For those reasons, we strongly support what WP Engine is doing by offering a fair, upfront, and reliable high-end hosting option for WordPress sites.
How Is Their Support?
As we’ve already alluded to, WP Engine’s support staff do an excellent job at offering support for WordPress because they know the platform like the back of their hands – and that’s saying a lot when you’re talking about someone who works at a keyboard and sees their hands all day!
That’s not to say that other hosting companies don’t have WordPress experts on staff, but WP Engine takes it to a whole new level. When their team has an intimate understanding of WordPress, and their entire business is optimized around offering the best possible WordPress experience, you’re going to have a good time – even when things are acting up and you need some support.
You can get in touch with an expert at WP Engine 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every single day of the year. Whether you need help launching your site, growing it, or simply migrating over an existing website, they’ve got you covered in every way.
They have hundreds of service experts available, and their average wait time for a live chat response is under three minutes. They’ve won national and international awards and recognition for their support and their platform.
They aren’t just going to troubleshoot when something goes wrong and try to brush you off and move on to the next ticket, they’re eager to actually help diagnose and get to the root of whatever the problem is, then to fix it.
Many of us have had hosting companies do the bare minimum to try to have us on our way when something goes wrong, and it can be very frustrating. As a website owner, you feel helpless when even your hosting company isn’t there to help you when the going gets tough. WP Engine, however, truly feels like an additional member of your team, they’re in it with you, through the vast majority of the time when things are sailing along smoothly (Due in big part to how they proactively work to keep everything working), but also when it really hits the fan.
All in, WP Engine earns the higher price. If you’ve ever dealt with bargain hosts before, you know it can be a good way to save some dough, but it can also be a real pain. We can easily recommend WP Engine for anyone looking for a very high-end place to host their WordPress site.
- Reliable: The way they have everything setup means your site is going to be more capable of handling any sudden surges in traffic, and leads to a very reliable hosting experience.
- Secure: WP Engine handles the management of the server, like keeping things on the back-end up to date with all the latest security patches, and they work proactively to keep your site safe before instructions can happen.
- Specialists: They’ve gone all-in on WordPress and it shows. This company is comprised of WordPress masters, it’s all they handle all day long,
- Fans: They don’t just have customers, they have fans. There are tons of rave reviews of WP Engine, and for good reason. You’ll find no shortage of people who will proudly say that WP Engine is the BEST hosting company they’ve ever used.
- There are a handful of disallowed plugins, but in most cases it’s because WP Engine already offers the same functionality already caked-in, which means you get better performance this way and a much more secure site – so it’s hard to fault them too much for this, it’s a diligent move, even if it gives you slightly less control.
- They limit caching plugins (Because keeping your site fast is THEIR job anyways, they take care of it without the need for a plugin). They also limit some backup plugins, but once again, it’s built in and much more secure to use their backups instead.
At the end of the day, the “cons” are in place to make your site perform quicker, and to ensure that people aren't using certain plugins that just SLAM the server's resources. Most other hosts allow that to happen, which ruins performance for everyone. For anything that's blocked on WP Engine, they either have an alternative already built into their platform, making the additional plugin redundant, or they offer a workaround or suggestion, and are eager to help you if you run into any snags. For the vast majority of users, these cons are actually a huge pro when you really break it down, since it's going to ensure their sites are more secure, and perform a lot faster.
Finally, WP Engine does charge a premium price for shared WordPress hosting, but it’s simply not comparable to the companies offering WP servers for $5 or $10 per month – WP Engine is operating on a whole other level.