WP Engine are a unique hosting company, offering managed WordPress hosting as part of their core services. You’ll probably have come across other web hosts offering WordPress hosting, but WP Engine offered managed hosting, which is a service whereby your web host plays a bigger role than just providing you with space on a server.
Managed WordPress hosting focuses primarily on WordPress (stating the obvious), offering additional tailored services, including the management of your website’s speed, security, and backups. The whole point of managed WordPress hosting is to allow you (the website owner) to focus on the content of your website, rather than the nitty gritty technical parts that you don’t really need to waste your time and effort on (because someone else can do it for you).
WP Engine were the first in the market to offer managed WordPress hosting, so we’re going to find out how they fair against the big competitors in the market, reviewing their pricing plans, performance, features, and customer service.
At first glance, you’ll notice that WP Engine’s hosting prices are more expensive than their competitors – even those offering WordPress hosting. However, we must remember that this is managed WordPress hosting, therefore it’s offering additional services that you don’t get with your shared hosting from other companies.
All of WP Engine’s hosting plans include 24/7 support, transferable installs, a testing environment, page performance analysis, expert WordPress advice, SSL certificates, and of course, an installation of WordPress.
The main differences between their pricing plans are how many websites can be installed, recommended visitors per month (to maintain uptime and speed), storage, and added performance extras.
Performance and Uptime
As a fresh install, WordPress on its own is reasonably fast and clean, but with so many optional features and plugins, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and clutter up your website, causing performance issues.
WP Engine saves the day by resolving speed issues by offering WordPress optimised servers with a caching system that’s simply out of this world – and the best part is, it’s all managed for you. WP Engine actually block the use of caching plugins so that they don’t conflict with their own (superior) caching, so that you can focus entirely on your website without the hassle of trialing multiple plugins to optimise your website.
Over a 30 day period, we tested our website’s uptime using WP Engine, resulting in a perfect 100% uptime across the entire period. There’s no wonder that over 70,000 customers are using WP Engine for their managed WordPress hosting.
WP Engine offer a range of features that most certainly differ from other web hosts; we were excited to explore theses features in more detail and share the results with you.
Staging: In most industries, businesses tend to have some sort of separate environment where changes and new features are produced on a testing environment (set apart from the live environment). This allows users to test and ensure that the changes made will work as expected, and if they don’t, there’s no fear that the changes will go live. WP Engine include a staging environment for their customers so if you make any changes to your WordPress website, you can test them before they go live. We think this is a very neat feature, and really shows the thought WP Engine have put into putting their customers first.
CDN: Cloud Delivery Network (CDN) is included in all of WP Engine’s pricing plans, aside from their personal plan where there is an option to include it at an added $19.95 per month. CDN’s are useful in providing performance boosts using advanced caching, security, and website loading times.
GeoTarget: Included in WP Engine’s business, premium, and enterprise plans, their GeoIP service is designed to dynamically change and optimse content based on your website user’s geographical location. If your website is hosted in the U.K., your U.S. based customers should have no trouble accessing your website, or experience any flaws in your website’s loading speed.
Content Performance: Another interesting and useful feature included in WP Engine’s higher-end plans, content performance gives you access to WordPress Google Analytics that have been optimised for your website. Although Google Analytics is free, WP Engine provide an overview of your data on your WordPress dashboard so that you can make informed decisions about your content strategy, with the hard work already done for you.
WP Engine pride themselves on their customer support excellence, offering 24/7 chat support worldwide included in all of their hosting services. Aside from their personal plan, all of their other hosting plans come with 24/7 telephone support, with only their enterprise package offering 24/7 ticket support. We felt the support options were a little lacking, considering that most web hosts offer 24/7 support via live chat, email, and telephone, so we wanted to test the available options that WP Engine had to offer.
Their live chat system really is available 24/7, and no matter where you are on their website, it’s easy to open a live chat with their advisers, without trying to find out how to get hold of them. Their live chat representatives responded quickly, efficiently, and were very knowledgeable. When we contacted WP Engine via telephone, we were pleasantly surprised at how much they knew about WordPress; even more in-depth technically complicated requests that some other hosts may have trouble in answering.
Their knowledgebase and tutorial videos are very extensive, so even if you didn’t fancy using their live chat, we’re confident you’d be able to find the answer you’re looking for via their support center.
Ease of Use
WP Engine has to come with a degree of complexity, purely due to how they can achieve such great performance results. Unfortunately, WP Engine doesn’t use the traditional cPanel, so if you’re a beginner (or even experienced as a matter of fact), their back end system can be a real pain to get to grips with.
As you can see, as part of WP Engine’s knowledgebase, there are multiple checks to tick off your list to ensure that your WordPress website gets up and running smoothly. Thankfully, their customer support is so good that if you do encounter any issues, and you can’t figure out how to resolve them even with their guides, their staff are on hand to provide advice and guide you through the process.
We won’t lie, WP Engine is not the easiest web host to use at first, but once you have got to the point where your back end systems are all setup, the rest is pretty smooth sailing.
Is WP Engine right for you?
As with many web hosts, and the services they offer, it all really depends on what you want and need as to whether WP Engine is right for you. If you’re running a small personal website or a blog, based on their complicated setup, we’d suggest steering away from WP Engine – weighing up the ease of use versus their prices, you’d be able to achieve what you want from another web host.
However, if your business is growing, or already established, and you intend to use WordPress as your CMS platform, WP Engine takes the pressure off worrying about speed and security, as it’s all managed in-house by them. Yes, they’re a little more pricey than other web hosts, but that’s because you’re paying someone to manage the back end services and issues. When you weigh up the cost of potentially hiring someone to do that work for you, WP Engine works out to be much more affordable.
WP Engine is certainly top of their game when it comes to managed WordPress hosting; they excel in so many areas, including performance and customer service, that it’s hard not to love them.
If managed WordPress hosting suits your needs, you’ll find that WP Engine is a solid choice with excellent servers to ensure that your website experiences very little downtime (if any), at high speeds. Their technology takes things to another level, providing features that focus on giving you (their customers) a truly unique experience, whilst you can focus on your own user and customer base by creating awesome content for your website.
WP Engine provide a 60-day money-back guarantee, so if you’re not entirely sure whether managed WordPress hosting is right for you, it’s worth checking them out and giving them a trial run. Don’t be afraid to dive in and test their systems, customer service, and servers yourself to see if they live up to your expectations. We have no doubt, if you’re part of their core audience, you’ll experience nothing but a positive outcome when compared to other shared or managed WordPress hosts.