Having good, reliable web hosting is one of the most crucial aspects of any growing or established website.
One of the most daunting tasks that you will face with your blog is choosing the right web hosting company.
There are many great options available, especially when you have a small or medium-sized WordPress blog.
Budget hosting like SiteGround is enough for a starting blog, but the task gets tedious when your WordPress blog starts growing exponentially and greater server resources are required to handle your increasing traffic.
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in the United States. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to provide managed hosting services specifically for WordPress.
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
Let’s check some specific features from the WPEngine review for you to make an accurate decision.
Specific Features – WPEngine Review for WordPress
If you want to ensure that your website is optimized, secure, and fast – without doing a lot of work yourself – managed hosting is an option worth considering. When it comes to managed WordPress hosting, WP Engine is one of the top names.
Its service offers quite a few WordPress-specific features, including:
- Quick and easy migrations from your old host.
- Easy to use and setup your site
- A free Secure Socket Layers (SSL) certificate, which is an important security measure.
- Support for setting up staging sites.
- Plenty of performance tracking and diagnostic options.
- 24/7 customer support
WPEngine Review – Pros
Features and support are important, but performance is what makes or breaks a web host. Fortunately, WP Engine offers plenty of performance-enhancing features, such as:
- A free Content Delivery Network (CDN) service, included on all plans.
- A Page Performance solution that tests your site and helps you make improvements.
- An add-on called GeoTarget that optimizes your site for specific regions.
What’s more, WP Engine offers a lot of server locations. We won’t list them all out (there are 19), but they include data centers in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
All of this should translate to excellent real-world performance.
Let’s check now a very important pro in this wpengine review: backups.
2. Automated Backups & Updates
There’s nothing worse than realizing you’ve gone months without updating your WordPress site. Even though it’s such a central task to keeping your site secure and functioning properly it’s an easy task to forget.
When updates to the WordPress core are pushed out, you’ll want to update your site right away. These updates not only add new features, but they patch known security holes, and keep your site in alignment with the latest web standards. Failing to update your site can also lead to plugin and theme conflicts, which can actually bring your site offline.
Basically, you’ll want to always be running the latest version of WordPress, along with keeping all of your plugins and themes up to date.
Luckily, the WP Engine team will take care of this for you.
Beyond ensuring that the WordPress core is up to date their team will test the update before they apply it, to ensure that it won’t affect your site in any way. You can also elect to defer any software release. For example, maybe you don’t want the latest Gutenberg editor applied to your site.
By deferring the update you’ll give yourself 60 days to test the update before you decide to apply it to your site.
However, keep in mind that you do have to update your WordPress plugins yourself. But, this can be an advantage as some plugins won’t be ready for an upgrade straight away and can lead to conflicts.
Beyond keeping our site up to date, WP Engine will also conduct regular website backups. These backups are pretty in-depth too. When some hosts offer bundled hosting they either limit the size of the backups, or only backup certain website elements.
WP Engine will backup your site on a nightly basis, and it’s a full website backup too. Each backup contains the WordPress core, site databases, plugins, themes, site changes, and more. You can do a full site restore from every single backup.
Beyond the automated backups, you also have the option to conduct a manual backup as well. All of the backups are stored on your WP Engine dashboard, but you can also download your backups for additional storage and safety as well.
3. Daily Security Scans Included
Website security is something you should take very seriously, especially if you’re running WordPress. Since WordPress is by and far the most popular CMS this makes it a very likely target for hackers.
Sadly, maintaining website security isn’t something that’s even thought about until it’s too late. Recovering from a hack can be both a time consuming and costly process.
There are steps you can take to secure your own WordPress site, but still, the security of your site will rest squarely on your shoulders. This means that you’ll not only need to install, activate, and set up the proper plugins. But, you’ll need to always ensure these plugins are up to date. Forgetting a single link in the chain can cause your entire security wall to come crashing down.
WP Engine will take care of all of this for you. They have automated daily security scans to ensure you don’t have any active security risks. Plus, there are automated backups for disaster recovery.
They have custom security procedures in place on the server level as well. Finally, they have regular third-party security audits to ensure their practices, servers, and codebase are up to the latest security standards.
4. WordPress Staging Area
With WP Engine you’ll have your standard hosting, plus additional access to multiple WordPress staging areas.
These staging environments can be used to fully create and test your WordPress website before you push it live to the internet. Or, if you’re a developer these can be used to build your client sites and make any changes before you transfer the site to their possession.
Pushing your site live, or transferring it to a client is very straightforward as well and all takes place within the hosting dashboard.
5. Free Site Migration
Migrating your WordPress site over to WP Engine is a very easy process. Not only will you be able to migrate your entire site, but you’ll be able to do it entirely for free.
To prepare your site for the migration you’ll need to have an active WP Engine hosting account, and you’ll need to create a new site from within your hosting dashboard.
Then, you’ll install the free migration plugin on your existing site and do all of the necessary site preparation. The plugin will do all of the technical heavy lifting for you, downloading and migrating all of your site content, databases, and settings. Keep in mind that it might take a little time for the transfer to finalize.
The only thing left for you to do is update your existing DNS records to reflect your new hosting environment.
Most hosts will charge for the process above, or only migrate a portion of your site for free. With the WP Engine migration plugin you can easily migrate your site for free in the most efficient way possible.
6. Free Site Migration and Installs
If you’re switching to WPEngine from another hosting provider, then this process couldn’t be simpler. All you need to do is sign up for hosting, and their team will take care of all the technical steps. This is perfect for beginners who don’t want to get their hands dirty with a complex site migration.
Also, if this is your first time using the service, then you can take advantage of the number of one-click installs they offer. Installing a CMS on your site takes nothing more than clicking a few buttons and entering the name of your site.
These tools and services make it very easy to get your site off the ground, even if you don’t have any technical skills.
WPEngine Review – Cons
WP Engine can offer your WordPress site a lot of benefits. Still, it’s not the perfect host and isn’t right for every kind of website owner.
Here are some of the biggest drawbacks of WP Engine you’ll want to be aware of:
1. They Only Work With WordPress
Hopefully, this first drawback is obvious. WP Engine only offers managed WordPress hosting services. If you want any other type of hosting, then you’re going to have to look elsewhere.
A lot of other hosts will offer a myriad of other services like, domain name registration, email management, along with will multiple forms of hosting.
With WP Engine you won’t be able to run any kind of site that isn’t a WordPress site.
This does create a very high-quality WordPress hosting service, but site owners not on WordPress will have to find a different provider to host their websites.
2. Site Customization Limitations
WP Engine has a very unique hosting setup which helps to achieve the very high levels of performance and security. But, in order to make this possible, there are a lot of site restrictions in place.
For example, there are limits on a number of plugins you can use, along with certain admin tasks that you won’t be able to complete.
This is done for a reason, in order to help your site achieve high levels of security and blazing fast speeds. But, some site owners might find this frustrating if they’re attached to using a certain plugin.
Now, there are alternative tools offered by WP Engine that you can use to accomplish the same tasks. But, some users might find this workaround interferes with their workflows.
Still, you have to think about the reason you’re making these sacrifices. By not using certain plugins and giving up certain admin actions you’re getting a host that completely takes the headache out of hosting.
3. Traffic and Storage Caps
Each of the WP Engine plans are limited by the amount of traffic your site can receive. There’s a maximum amount of traffic your site will be able to receive every month before you’re hit with overage charges.
Sites that get variable traffic levels, or run big promotions that result in a lot of traffic will find themselves paying higher monthly hosting fees.
The way they count website visitors is very straightforward, but expect to pay a lot if you ever have a post of yours go viral. The overage cost is $2 per 1,000 additional monthly visitors.
With some hosts, you’ll be able to get a lot more support for higher traffic levels while paying a lot less. Think something like VPS or cloud hosting, which can much more easily support growing or variable levels of traffic.
4. No Email Hosting
This might not be a huge disadvantage. But, with WP Engine you won’t be able to send emails through their server or run any automated email marketing campaigns.
Most general hosting companies will provide you with an email inbox you can access through cPanel, or even automated email marketing software you can utilize. However, you won’t find this feature available at WP Engine.
If you want to manage emails you collect through your website, then you’ll need to use a third-party email marketing provider. This is generally the most useful approach to take anyways, but it’s still something worth being aware of.
5. High Monthly Hosting Fees
One thing is for certain, WP Engine isn’t a budget-oriented host. If you are building a website for the first time, then this probably won’t be the best form of hosting for your needs.
You should probably only consider WP Engine if you have an established website that’s getting a decent volume of traffic. Since it’s a managed host this will help to free up your time, so you can grow your site even further.
If you have a smaller budget, or this is your first time hosting a website, then you might want to go with a budget-friendly WordPress host.
While WP Engine only offers one type of service – its managed WordPress hosting – it also provides a number of tiered plans to choose from. These plans differ dramatically in how many resources they offer and the number of sites they cater for, which means you’re getting a very scalable service.
Let’s run through each of the WP Engine plans quickly:
- Startup ($30 per month): With this entry-level tier, you get support for up to 25,000 visits per month, one website, 10GB of storage, and 50GB of bandwidth. You’ll also get an SSL certificate, access to a global CDN, and a few other key features.
- Growth ($115 per month): This plan increases your traffic support to 100,000 and provides you with ten sites. In addition to more resources, you get access to 24/7 phone support and can import your own SSL certificates.
- Scale ($290 per month): This tier is largely identical to the last. It simply provides even more resources, bumps your site count up to 30, and supports up to 400,000 visits per month.
- Premium and Enterprise: These are custom plans, so pricing will vary. They provide lots of additional resources and support, and move your hosting up from a shared setup to dedicated servers.
These plans aren’t cheap, but they do provide plenty of features and lots of room for your site to grow. If you’re looking to build one or more serious business or e-commerce sites, this service is worth a look, the same way this WPEngine review is worth reading. If you aren’t looking to build this on WordPress, you can read our Shopify review here as well.
Summary – Overall pros and cons
For the final step in our WPEngine review for WordPress, let’s sum up the key pros and cons of this hosting provider.
- Well-optimized for WordPress users.
- Simplifies the process of managing your website.
- Provides solid, consistent performance.
- Offers plenty of dedicated and expert support.
- Won’t fit into everyone’s budget.
- Only offers managed hosting on shared servers (or dedicated servers on the custom plans).
Alternatives to WP Engine Hosting
For most people looking for managed WordPress hosting, WP Engine’s price points are a stumbling block, even though their WordPress hosting service is worth every penny.
So what are the alternatives to WP Engine?
Well there are quite a few. Here’s my own top 5 WP Engine alternatives:
#1 Cloudways – Low costs – Exceptional Support – Ideal for serious new bloggers
#2Kinsta – Excellent service – Good Price
#3FlyWheel – Expensive, but you get what you pay for.
#4Bluehost – Affordable alternative to services mentioned above.
#5 Siteground – Good WordPress hosting alternative to WP Engine.
I hope you liked this WPEngine review post. WP Engine plans don’t come cheap – there’s no sugar-coating that fact. However, you’ll get a quality managed hosting service in exchange for your investment. This provider offers lots of vital WordPress-specific features, solid performance, and reliable support. If WP Engine does fit your budget, it’s worth serious consideration.