WP Engine Review – Is It The Best WordPress Hosting?

WP Engine - Managed WordPress Hosting

$25/Month
8.9

Price

8.0/10

Server Response Time

9.0/10

Up-Time

9.5/10

Support

9.0/10

Security

9.0/10

Pros

  • Quick Server Response Time & High Uptime
  • 24/7 Chat, Telephone & Email Support
  • WordPress-Specialized Support
  • Developer-Friendly Environment
  • Free StudioPress Themes & Genesis Framework

Cons

  • Prices are relatively on the higher side
  • No Email Hosting
  • Some Plugins May Not Work Due to Security Measures
  • Free Migration but Needs User's Involvement

If you’re looking for a top WordPress Managed Hosting services then I’d start with the Bruce Lee’s famous quote:

fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times

The reason I quoted Bruce Lee is because when it comes to the WP Engine, the above holds to be quite true.

WP Engine is a web hosting service that has dedicated itself to just WordPress hosting and being that laser-focused, their Managed WordPress Hosting is ranked among the top WordPress hosting providers.

Having said that, of course, I would never recommend accepting anything without performing my own scrutiny and for this purpose, I’ve dug into the trenches to explore the details and come up with some important information that I’m sure will help you decide about WP Engine.

But before jumping to the review, please go through this important affiliate disclosure:


Affiliate Disclosure

The Usual Stuff may get compensated for its articles, reviews, guides, recommendations, etc. Click here for more details.


Here’s what I have for you:

What is WP Engine?

WP Engine is a Managed WordPress hosting service dedicated solely to the WordPress platform. They also offer many great add-ons and security features which really makes them stand out from the rest of their competitors.

Once we’ve got that out of our way, let’s see what features does the WP Engine offers:

WP Engine – Features

1. Reliable Security

WP Engine has a keen eye for security. Since WordPress is built on PHP and being an open-source programming language, it is exposed to a heap of vulnerabilities and exploits.

WP Engine’s team pays special heed towards the security aspect of their clients’ websites. Their security environment consists of:

i. Disk Write Limitation and Protection

WP Engine limits the number of processes that can write on the disk thus reducing the chances of exploitation.

If this sounds too techy then here’s the simplified version.

WP Engine protects your website by keeping a strong check on the number of processes that can write into the file system and thus prevent them from injecting a malicious code. This process could be anything such as a malicious plugin, worm, etc.

Additionally, a detailed log of all the attempts of writing on to the disk is maintained so that any malicious code is identified and acted upon in time.

ii. Strong check on Plugins

WP Engine frequently disallows plugins that can expose your WordPress website to different vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities (or “holes”) can be intentional or unintentional but they may leave your site open to exploitation. WP Engine makes sure to eliminate such risk by disallowing plugins that have such holes in their code-base.

iii. Proprietary Firewall

Pretty self-explanatory. Right?

WP Engine deploys its own firewall to differentiate between the “good”, “bad” and the “ugly” traffic.

It also decides which traffic should be sent to your website, such as the real human traffic and which should be blocked, such as the scraping bots.

The advantage of this firewall is that the first, your bandwidth is consumed entertaining the “real” traffic thus making sure you’re getting full value of your money.

Second, most of these “bad” traffic comprises of the scraping bots which log on to your website with an ulterior motive of scraping your information. WP Engine, with its firewall, makes sure that these bots never land on your website. This ensures that any analytical software tracking your traffic gives you accurate information about your traffic. Thus enhancing your analytics.

Having said that, the firewall also ensures that it does not block the search engine crawlers so that your web pages get tracked and indexed on the major search engines.

2. Impeccable Analytics and Insights

Those who want to rank better on search results know that how each and every metric matters. They keep a close eye on every aspect of their websites to make sure that they don’t lag behind.

Having WP Engine’s platform behind your back ensures that you have access to some valuable insights.

WP Engine provides intelligence-based reporting both at the user lever, such as the page speed as well as the developer level.

What this means is that it not only enables you take some superficial SEO-related steps to lowering your website’s loading speed but also goes one step ahead by providing you analytics at the code-level to identify the problems in your code as well.

The best thing is that this information is present right in your WP Engine’s main user dashboard.

3. Content Delivery Network (CDN) & Built-In Caching features Super-Fast Website Speed

Those who don’t know about CDN here’s a very brief intro. The CDN distributes your website data among different servers across multiple geographical locations and redirects user to the server closest to his own location.

Due to the proximity, the page load time improves and visitors are able to surf your website swiftly.

WP Engine uses StackPath (formerly MaxCDN) to offer the CDN feature. StackPath is quite well-known in its field and considered among the best.

Secondly, if we be honest here, almost every WordPress Hosting service claims super-fast servers and in order to substantiate this claim, they offer off-the-shelf tools like NGinx, Varnish, etc. however, the difference between WP Engine’s and other WordPress Managed Hosting services is that the former has its own custom caching mechanism a.k.a EverCache.

4. Choose Web Servers According To The Geo-Location Of Your Website Traffic

While setting up your WordPress website on WP Engine, you can choose the server closest to your main traffic source.

Although WP Engine does deploy CDN as mentioned above but this feature allows you to choose your parent server and then distribute your server across different geo-locations.

As we know that the page load time plays a key role in deciding your position on the search engine, the proximity is vital in this aspect.

When you serve pages from the server nearest to your visitor’s location, the page tends to load faster.

WP Engine - Choose Data Center
Choose Data Center Nearest to your Targeted Traffic’s Location

5. 24/7 Support & Customer Service

All plans come with 24/7 chat support so that you may never get stuck anywhere and your issues get resolved within time.

Additionally, except for the Startup plan, all the other plans come with 24/7 phone support.

Moreover, the custom or the enterprise plan comes with 24/7 email-based ticket support as well.

6. 35+ StudioPress Themes & Genesis Framework

You get 35+ Premium StudioPress Themes with every WP Engine plan.

StudioPress is a WordPress Themes Design Studio which WP Engine acquired back in Jun 2018 and makes WordPress development quite interactive due to its extensive features.

StudioPress designs and develops some awesome and elegant niche-specific WordPress website templates.

This along with the Genesis framework which speeds up the WordPress development provides you a value of more than $2,000.

WP Engine - WordPress StudioPress
Enjoy the complimentary StudioPress and Genesis Framework for WordPress with WP Engine

7. 60-Days Money-Back Guarantee

This is only for the hosting service though but still, WP Engine offers a 60-day money back guarantee.

Don’t like their service?

Simple, ask for the refund!

I believe this guarantee alone shows the WP Engine’s belief and confidence in their services.

8. Insane 99.9% Up-Time Guarantee

Websites frequently go offline and we all know how this can affect your overall traffic. Not just in terms of user experience but also your rankings on the search engines.

After all, why would the search engines display a website in their search results with a history of frequently going offline?

However, WP Engine boasts an up-time guarantee of 99.9%. That’s truly insane.

Here’s the history of WP Engine’s server status in the last 5 months.

WP Engine - Server Response Time

9. Quick Server Response Time

When it comes to ranking higher in search engines, page response time (download speed) is considered among the most dominant factors.

In fact, a survey found that even just a slight change in the server response time (from 0.4 seconds to 0.9 seconds) pushed the page from 10-result page to the 30-result page resulting in the loss of 20% revenue.

Not only the search engine rankings but even the users are now less tolerant of the websites that don’t download swiftly.

WP Engine’s history shows that it offers quick response time to its websites. With an aggregate response speed of 132 ms which though not the best but is considered quite good, their American servers show a response time of 50 ms. which is quite remarkable.

WP Engine - Server Response Time
WP Engine – Server Response Time – Courtesy: HostScore.net

10. Customize Your Content Geographically Using GeoTarget

One of the most awesome features of WP Engine is the ability of the website owner to present her content based on the geographical location of the visitor.

What this means is that if you want to show a Canadian telephone number to your Canadian visitor and a USA number to your visitors from the USA, you can easily achieve that with the GeoTarget feature. WP Engine’s proprietary Caching ability makes sure that all this Geo-targeting does not affect the page performance.

WP Engine Page Rendering using Geo-Targeting

Managed WordPress Hosting Plans from WP Engine

Pricing

WP Engine offers 4 different pricing plans.

  1. Startup (Monthly – $30/month, Yearly – $25/month)
  2. Growth (Monthly – $115/month, Yearly – $95/month)
  3. Scale (Monthly – $290/month, Yearly – $241/month)
  4. Custom (You may need to contact WP Engine for the quote )

The price varies not just tier-wise but also based on the fact that how frequently do you want to pay. Of course, since you’ll be paying a lump sum amount when on a yearly basis, the prices are a bit lower than their monthly counterpart.

Monthly Payment Plan – Price & Features

WP Engine - Pricing  - Monthly Plan

Yearly Payment Plan – Price & Features

What are the Pros and Cons of WP Engine?

Like everything else, there are pros and cons that you need to be aware of. Plus these pros and cons will also serve as good one-liners of the above features. Just in case you don’t have time to go through all the details above.

Pros

  1. Blazing fast server speed due to WP Engine’s built-in and proprietary caching ability (EverCache) and top-quality CDNs, etc.
  2. Robust security of your WordPress websites with WP Engine’s own firewall effectively making your WordPress website, Hacker-proof.
  3. A vibrant eco-system of programmers and developers to help you get through your development phase and deal with errors.
  4. Free WordPress and plugins updates, backups and built-in premium features so that you can focus 100% on creating and developing content instead of messing around with the administrative issues.
  5. Helpful page performance insights not just at the application (user-level) but also at the code level right in your WP Engine’s dashboard.
  6. Automated WordPress updates and management due to WordPress Managed Hosting. Therefore, no hassles of compatibility issues.
  7. 35+ Premium StudioPress templates absolutely free.
  8. High-speed development due to the Genesis framework.
  9. Ability to geographically customize content using GeoTarget.
  10. 60-days money-back guarantee. Just in case you don’t find anything up to your expectations.
  11. 24/7 support (chat, telephone and email).
  12. Almost no downtime (99.9% uptime).
  13. Real-time threat detection
  14. Daily backups

Cons

  1. The price is relatively on the higher side.
  2. There are chances that your favorite plugin may be blocked due to security issues.
  3. No email hosting.
  4. No CPanel since it’s a Managed WordPress Hosting.

Who should and should not use WP Engine?

Once we have all the features, pros and cons lined up, I think that it’s better to discuss that for whom WP Engine is the best Managed WordPress hosting and who should go for relatively cheaper options. After all, not everything is meant for everyone.

Who should use WP Engine?

  1. Professional/serious bloggers
  2. WordPress developers who want to host multiple WordPress websites (of their clients)
  3. Bloggers or website owners who crave speed, scalability, and better security
  4. Website owners in search of a scalable WordPress solution.
  5. All of the above users who do not want to actively manage their WordPress websites (such as plugins, backups, updates, etc.)

Who should not use WP Engine?

  1. Amateur bloggers (with very little to none technical knowledge)
  2. Bloggers looking to host single, light-weight WordPress websites
  3. People looking for WordPress solutions in a budget.
  4. People who are more comfortable with CPanel.

WP Engine’s Clientele

Normally, a thousand words review isn’t that powerful and does not inspire call-to-action as compared to when people see what the big guns are doing.

If this is true then WP Engine clearly has an upper hand here as there are some well-known websites, prestigious institutes, and reputable brands that have placed their trust in them. Some of these websites are:

  1. BalSamiq
  2. HTC
  3. Four Square
  4. Investigation Discovery
  5. Arizona State University
  6. Thomson Reuters
  7. Armette EyeWear
  8. and the list goes on…!

User Reviews

Quite interestingly, WP Engine’s ratings on the famous, TrustPilot is not that high as, at least I was expecting it to be. Despite revered on different forums as a premium WordPress hosting, it has a rating of 3.3 on TrustPilot.

I did contact their technical team if they cared to explain the situation for this article because I’m aware that the reviews could be manipulated as well as skewed towards anomaly, but I never received their response.

WP Engine - TrustPilot Ratings

Still, as of this time, majority has declared it as an excellent hosting but still, I was expecting much more than Wp Engine.

It’s quite possible that the users with negative experience are much more motivated to leave feedback than the others.

Anyhow, I’ve compiled a brief list of user remarks that depicts the positive, negative and mixed feedbacks from its users. The only purpose is to let you know what you can expect from WP Engine.

Negative User Reviews

Majority of the negative reviews pertain to lax customer support. Apparently, in order to keep the cost low, seems like that WP Engine is assigning multiple tickets to a single rep at a time.

WP Engine - Negative User Review - 1

This feedback is technical in nature. Good to see that the WP Engine’s staff made sure to address it despite the user ending his subscription.

WP Engine - Negative Review 2

Positive User Reviews

The positive feedback from the users is not surprising to me. The strong points of WP Engine are its security (which has gone down, lately), speed and support and this is what you will find many of its users appreciating.

WP Engine - Positive User Review 1

Mixed User Reviews

In these sort of “mixed” reviews from the users, they are seen to be complaining about the support. Again. So it seems like that my assessment of multiple tickets being assigned to a single resource doesn’t seem to be far off.

What’s My Verdict? Do I Recommend WP Engine?

Well, if you’re a serious blogger or a webmaster and looking to carve out a career from your passion of blogging and along with that, have some technical know-how as well then yes, I will definitely and highly recommend WP Engine to you.

Similarly, if you crave speed and expect your major chunk of traffic coming from the US, Canada or even UK, then I’d strongly recommend you WP Engine.

Looking for WP Engine Alternatives?

Still not convinced?

If for any reason you feel that WP Engine does not satisfy your needs then below is the list of best WP Engine Alternatives that offer Managed WordPress Hosting you can try your hands on:

Alternatives Same As WP Engine

  1. Kinsta
  2. CloudWays
  3. WPX Hosting
  4. Pressidium
  5. FlyWheel
  6. Media Temple
  7. Liquid Web

Cheaper WP Engine Alternatives

Since WP Engine represents the “premium” WordPress hosting class, the fact of the matter is that not everyone can afford their services. Especially those who are just starting out with WordPress blogging and their main priority is to learn the ropes. For them, here are relatively cheaper alternatives to WP Engine.

Needless to say that being cheaper, you have to compromise on the level of performance but I think that’s quite understandable.

  1. A2 Hosting (Highly Recommended)
  2. InterServer
  3. SiteGround
  4. InMotion Hosting
  5. BlueHost
  6. DreamHost
  7. GoDaddy
  8. HostGator
  9. iPage

Final Word

I know that the review has become a bit longer so let’s call it a day. I hope that after reading the above WP Engine review you are now in a much better position to ascertain if you should really go with WP Engine.

However, just in case you’re still perplexed, as I know that with so many options and technical jargon, a person does get overwhelmed, you can either leave a comment below or contact me.

Tell me your details and I’ll help you in figuring out just the right (WordPress) hosting for you.

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