Web hosting for your website can be a very unpleasant experience if it is done wrong. There are literally hundreds of hosting providers that provide different levels of service and performance.
When it comes to WordPress hosting though, one name stands out about the rest: WP Engine. This WP Engine review will highlight all features that make it worth the price of admission.
Table of Contents
- Who is WP Engine?
- Is WP Engine owned by WordPress?
- Regular hosting versus managed WordPress hosting.
- Top 5 reasons to choose WP Engine.
- Why is WP Engine so expensive?
- WP Engine and the WordPress Community.
- Final WP Engine Review.
Who is WP Engine?
WP Engine is the leading WordPress digital experience platform. Based out of Austin Texas, they started the brand from a small incubator start-up in 2010. Since then they have focused on WordPress website speed and customer service. They now have over 700 employees and have the largest funding of any Texas startup.
WP Engine is a new breed of technology company at the intersection of software innovation and service. Their platform provides clients with the solutions they need to create remarkable sites and apps on WordPress that drive their business forward faster. They were the first company to coin the phase Managed WordPress Hosting and are still the leader.
Is WP Engine owned by WordPress?
No, WP Engine is the largest WordPress product not owned by Automattic (owners of WordPress).
Regular hosting versus managed WordPress hosting.
Shared hosting is a web hosting solution where your site shares the resources of a single web server with a number of other websites. And the main advantage of using such a service is they’re available at an affordable rate. The downside of shared hosting is that speed times will lag, security volnerabilities, and underwhelming customer support.
Manager WordPress hosting is a type of hosting service that provides the most powerful technologies for your WordPress site to make sure your website is both secure and fast. Companies like WP Engine take care of the hosting related issues like backups, security checks, updating WordPress, and much more. They also provide premium customer service and solve your problems as quickly as possible.
Top 5 reasons to choose WP Engine.
Your website’s speed – i.e. the amount of time it takes to respond to the request and deliver the content – is a major ranking for Google and other search engines. On top of this, there are case studies that demonstrate the relationship between site speed and revenue generation:
- Amazon concluded that they increase revenue by 1% for every 100 milliseconds they decrease their loading time.
- Yahoo increased traffic 9% for every 400 milliseconds of improvement.
The bottom line, a faster website increases your chances of being well ranked.
- WP Engine uses EverCache technology to make sure that your website stays safe (and active) during traffic spikes.
- WP Engine uses MaxCDN for their CDN – one of the leading CDN providers in the globe.
One of the greatest fears that all webmasters face is that of having their site hacked. A successful attack on a busy website can result in enormous traffic and monetary loss. This is the reason that larger website spend considerable time and effort protecting their websites.
Most WordPress website are the victim of automated attacks where the hackers attempt to hack the username and password for the admin account. If a hacker gains access through your admin login, they can wreak havoc. As a WordPress enthusiast, there are 2 main preventive measures which come to mind – proper security plugins and daily backups – both of which WP Engine manage for you.
Here are some key features:
- WP Engine uses sFTP instead of traditional FTP. sFTP is basically FTP over a secure tunnel (SSH).
- Get the username/password wrong three times in a row and bam – your IP is blocked. You’ll have to get in touch with support to fix it!
- WP Engine takes daily redundant backups of your website – one is kept on their server and a full backup is stored in Amazon S3. Head over to their Support Garage to find out more.
- Plus, if your site gets hacked, WP Engine will fix it for free.
- WP Engine manages all WordPress security patches and also provides a one-click core upgrade as well as the ability to defer until the next update.
Check out more customer reviews from G2.
WP Engine’s pricing structure is based upon your website’s monthly visits – starting at $35 for 25,000 visits/month.
Let’s try to understand scalability with an example. Suppose you ran a promotion campaign in Facebook and the traffic you received from the campaign was much higher than expected. Or suppose your blog’s article was accepted in Smashing Mag which caused a short-term spike in the number of visitors. In situations where your website experiences a traffic spike, it’s possible for your site to go offline.
If you’re on a shared hosting server or a VPS server, you risk is greatest. Shared hosts have little tolerance for websites that consume more resources than they are entitled to. Fortunately, when you’re on a managed hosting service like WP Engine, a surge in traffic wouldn’t cause any downtime although it might incur extra charges for that particular month because of the additional resources required.
Managed hosting is one of your top choices when it comes to dealing with the possibility of an unexpected traffic surge, WP Engine does not place restrictions on your website caused by traffic spikes or unusual events– they simply serve the page requests as normal – quickly and efficiently.
Being that I worked at WP Engine, I know the folks in the customer support department. These are WordPress nerd that genuinely care about helping fix problems and they are really good at it.
WP Engine’s customer service is second to none. Half of their staff is dedicated to customer service reps working around the clock to ensure customers get the very WordPress and hosting support. WP Engine’s Customer Experience team was awarded our third Gold Stevie Award for excellence in customer service. This is our Customer Experience team’s fifth Stevie Award in the last few years, including the Gold International Business award, where we were honored last year with the Best Customer Experience in the World.
WP Engine also offers an amazing resource center that not only answers questions about the platform, but also about common WordPress problems.
5. User Friendly Dashboard.
The WP Engine Combined Dashboard gives you a bird’s eye view of the WP Engine’s capabilities– clearing the database cache, CDN control, user role permissions, error logs, and some other advanced configuration.
The User Portal allows you to view and manage (add/delete) users in your WP Engine account. It’s clean, easy and gives the stuff you need to work in a collaborative project.
WP Engine Control Panel makes it super easy to find and edit your site.The Installation manager is another great tool that lets you add/manage multiple WordPress installations and configure advanced options for each of them.
Many argue that the pricing model of the Managed hosting isn’t really quite compatible with new websites or ones with decent traffic. Yes, the pricing seems high, but when you consider the sheer number of features that are included – ninja-like security, uber-fast site speed, and expert WordPress support – it’s actually a steal!
It’s also worthwhile to note that WP Engine’s Growth plan ($115 / month) offers the highest number visits for the money of any other managed host. So it’s fair to say that the value for your money is actually quite high.
With this expensive price-point, you are probably looking for a discount. I have the hookup for you! Use my link to get 3 months free when you buy an annual plan.
Why is WP Engine so expensive?
Now that we’ve covered some of the general features that are most common to every hosting company, let’s focus our attention to what makes WP Engine a leader in the managed WordPress hosting industry.
1. Staging Area.
This is one feature I absolutely love about WP Engine. It’s perfect for geeks like us who love to fiddle around with a theme’s CSS. It’s a great tool for theme and developers to test out the site before incorporating changes in the main site. What the staging area does is clones a copy of the site on a separate sub-domain, where you can test new plugins and theme modifications. If a plugin breaks the site, you can simply create a new clone and start again. Once your changes are complete, you can roll the new version of your website – easy-peasy!
2. Curated Plugins.
The folks over at WP Engine are very good at what they do. They only hire well-known WordPress experts and developers in order to keep the quality of service and security top-notch. That’s the reason they’ve come up with their list of featured plugins – and a list of disallowed plugins.
If you are using WooCommerce, I rank WP Engine number one on my suggested managed hosting solutions.
3. Managed WordPress Updates.
I remember one time, when I updated to version 3.5 (the version with the new Media Manager), the Edit Post page stopped working. There was no way to create new posts or edit old ones. I had to roll back to the last available backup. I quickly emailed the theme developers. Thankfully, this issue was persistent with the top theme companies and subsequent theme updates were released quickly.
Thanks to this experience, I’ll always be a bit nervous about pressing that final Update button. But with WP Engine, I don’t have to get nervous before clicking the Upgrade button.
That is because WP Engine comes with managed upgrades, i.e. when WordPress gets updated, the new version will be tested by WP Engine first, and then rolled out to you, the client. This ensures major plugin and theme compatibility. Even if you did manage to somehow wreck something, WP Engine’s daily backups can restore your site in a flash and make that mistake disappear!
4. Built-in Login Lockdowns.
Security is a top priority at . Using the Limit Login Attempts Plugin, you can control the number of failed login attempts before banning a user or taking a variety of other actions:
5. Customer Support.
This is one of the most crucial factors in any business and WP Engine nails it. It uses one of my favorite support panels – ZenDesk. This means all my tickets are both private and secure – and I can keep track of them easily. They also have email and phone support ( 1-877-WPENGINE) along with a detailed FAQ. Most importantly, they have the highest ratio of support personnel to customers compared to any other hosting provider. And they’re all WordPress experts.
6. Git Version Control.
The company constantly tries to improve their quality of service and their developer-friendly features. Recently, they had introduced a new feature – Git Push. Git is a source-code synchronization tool for developers. It was originally developed by Linus Torvalds – the founder of the Linux Operating System. He used Git to control and maintain the revisions of the operating system’s code. Git can be used to write any form of code and control its revisions. This means you can write custom WordPress plugins, themes and custom versions of WordPress using Git. WP Engine allows you to leverage the power of Git in your site with version control.
7. Automatic Backups.
Backup are a serious matter and all webmasters know it. WP Engine takes their customer’s backups very seriously and offers a host of other features that makes them one-of-a-kind.
Who has time to remember to backup your website every day? WP Engine conducts a daily automatic backup of all your files in your account and saves them to their servers along with another copy in AWS Glacier servers. WP Engine retains up to a 30 day backup of your site.
8. 1-Click Restore Points.
With automatic backups, WP Engine has also introduced 1-Click restore points. With this feature, you can select any one of the 30 backups and with a click of a button, you can restore your site to that state. If you manage to break your site with a new plugin, and you can’t get it back to a working state – the 1-Click Restore Point feature is a painless lifesaver!
Word of Caution: When you restore your site to an earlier date, all your new data will be erased. This means any new comments and posts that you might have published (from the time of the selected restore point), will be lost. Always make a current backup before restoring to a previous version.
8. GeoIP Lookup.
This feature lets WP Engine know where your visitors come from – whether it’s the tropical islands of Hawaii or the freezing horizons of Alaska. In case your website has content specific to different geographical areas, you’ll serve different versions based upon your visitors location. For example, if it’s the 4th of July, then you might want to offer a sale to visitors from the US.
Earlier, you would have to use 3rd party services for GeoIP lookup. But with this new feature, you can directly obtain it by querying WP Engine’s API. Read more about this feature in their blog post.
9. Transferable Installs.
If you’re a developer, you’ll love this feature. Transferable installs allow you to get started on a project before a client has even set up their hosting. If you choose, you can work on a project to completion and then simply “push” or transfer the install into your client's account. This feature has the added bonus of allowing you, the developer to retain control of the install until your final bill is paid. Less hassle, less risk and easier workflow!
WP Engine and the WordPress Community.
In my years of scouring the Internet, I have come across very few company blogs that take an active interest in giving back to society. WP Engine is a family which in currently experiencing rapid growth. This means their entire network is serving around 20 million visitors every day! All of these hits delivered in the fastest possible time!
Even with this rapid growth, the company hasn’t stopped giving back. Whether it’s celebrating Veteran’s Day with the military veterans working at WP Engine or providing care packages for the homeless, or installing a new sign on their building,
WP Engine is a closely knit family of individuals working toward progress.
WP Engine Labs.
This is the division of WP Engine that brought you the awesome new Git Version Control feature. I want to discuss two of their current projects:
WP Engine Search.
WP Engine Search is a project designed to improve the user experience when it comes to searching on your website. Using a plugin by ElasticSearch, searching your website will no longer require searching the database. Results will be nearly real-time, highly accurate and sorted based upon the age of the post. Integrated with WP Search is a feature that will allow you to display related content below each post, improving time-on-site and overall user experience.
WP Engine Affiliate Program.
This is one of the finest programs I have ever had the pleasure to work with. They have a very generous $200 commission for every referral. Also a great sales resources and an affiliate management team that is very responsive and helpful.
Final WP Engine Review – Do You Really Need WP Engine?
Yes! If you are serious about your online business, WP Engine is one of the best managed WordPress hosting providers out there. Here’s a quick summary of their primary features:
- Super fast hosting – thanks to caching technologies.
- Highly secure, malware protected hosting.
- Expert WordPress customer support.
- High scalability.
- Competitive pricing.
- Tons of user friendly features.