WP Engine Review

WP Engine is the best WordPress hosting. The price is a little expensive but we'll show you why it's best to host your WP site here.

WP Engine

URL:
http://www.wpengine.com
Services:
Dedicated WordPress Hosting
Monthly:
$29/mo

Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On June 26, 2013 . Updated: August 12, 2014


Summary

WP Engine is a very special web host company that focuses only on one niche: WordPress Hosting. Its entire hosting system runs literally on a WordPress platform. If your site is not running on WP, you will have to host your site elsewhere. Read about my experience with the Engine.

* Updates August 2014:

WP Engine is no longer a highly recommended web host by WHSR because I found out that the web host is adding a footer links to sites without permission. After further investigation, I noticed that I am not the only one affected (nor that the footer link was added accidentally due to human error). As a web marketer and SEO myself – I take this very seriously and do not think any paid web host has the right to do so. All my test sites are now removed from WP Engine. Future uptime record (starting July 2014) will be based on a WP Engine-hosted site belong to a friend of mine. Part of the review below is still valid and up to date as for now (WP Engine is without doubt solid in term of site speed and uptime record). If you are looking for alternatives of similar price range and server quality, InMotion and A2 Hosting (plans with SSD) are both outstanding in my opinion. This website, for example, is hosted on InMotion’s VPS hosting plan.

WP Engine is a very special web host company that focuses only on one niche: WordPress Hosting. Its entire hosting system runs literally on a WordPress platform (no cPanel, domain manager, phpAdmin, etc). If your site is not running on WP, you will have to host your site elsewhere.

I first knew about WP Engine when I interviewed one of the company founders, Jason Cohen. Back then, WP Engine was less than one year old and not many have heard about the brand. About one year after the interview, I shifted one of my main sites Web Hosting Secret Revealed to WP Engine and the rest is history.

Founded by Aaron Brazell and Jason Cohen in July 2010, WP Engine is a powerful hosting platform for WordPress users that focuses on three main WordPress site issues: Security, Speed, and Scalability.

The hosting company is relative new compare to others in our hosting reviews. However, with brilliant management and some strategic market position, it has attracted many influencers and big names in the WordPress community. Folks behind WordPress.com, Automattic, made a strategic investment to the company in late 2011. HTC, FourSquare, Balsamiq, SoundCloud are some of the popular brands that are now WP Engine-hosted. A number of well-known personal blogs that I followed, including thisthis and this, switched over too.

 Why WordPress Only Hosting?

You may ask, “Isn’t dumb to limit your market and focus only on WordPress users?”. Fact is, I was equally surprised when I found this and I asked WP Engine founder during our interview session:

When asked “How has the strategy of solely focusing on WordPress users affected the business?”

Jason answered: “Focusing only on WordPress means we can do a fantastic job. For example we hire WordPress experts only, so everyone at the company is helpful and knowledgeable when you call into tech support.

Lots of hosting companies answer the phone on the first ring and call that “good service.” Of course if the person on the other end can’t debug the WordPress problem, at the end of the day it’s not helpful. We know what we’re good at — and what we’re NOT good at! — and we do only the former.”

“That’s how it affects you — the customer. How it affects the back-end business is that we can be more profitable because we don’t have to diversify technology or talent. American Airlines can’t make money because they service 20 kinds of planes; Southwest and JetBlue are profitable and run only a few models. We’re like the latter; most hosting companies are the former.”

So there, take it or leave it, WPEngine is all about WordPress. If you are not a WordPress user, then this piece of review has nothing to do with you, leave now; but in case you are looking for a hosting company who offer serious WordPress hosting, I am sure this review is a must-read for you!

WP Engine Special Discount

Unfortunately, I do not have any exclusive deals with WP Engine hence there is no special discount for you. But, the company is running some promotion at this time of writing. If you signup to WP Engine on a yearly basis, you’ll get 2 months free – pay 12 months, get hosting for 14 months.

For more details, visit WP Engine online (link opens in new window): http://www.wpengine.com

 My Experience With WP Engine

wpengine response time

While WP Engine is not something that I have tried in the past, my experience with the company is positive. The company indeed lives up to its promises and there are tons of good things to share. For one, the site migration process during my switch was ultra smooth. I did nothing but send a few simple instructions to the tech guy at WP Engine and the site is up and running on its new host the very next day.

Sites Load Fast At WP Engine

Secondly, and more importantly, my site WHSR now loads faster than ever.

I’m quite a WordPress fan boy but I am not that much of a programmer. So, there isn’t much hacking or optimization onWordPress besides of installing some caching plugins. Needless to say, WHSR loads in average speed when it was hosted on its old host.

Not now anymore.

Things changed dramatically ever since I moved. The site’s response time improved significantly (almost 100% as measured by Pingdom, see image) right after the migration without any fine-tuning from my side.

WP Engine = Cost Efficient Hosting?

While WP Engine’s price tags may have driven some users away, I found it to be very cost-efficient (given that I am hosting only one domain).

Let’s do some math. How much does a reliable WordPress security or maintenance plugin cost? VaultPress, for example, charge $40/mo; BackupBuddy, for another example, costs $75 the least. Add that up with your ordinary hosting costs – say Hostgator, $7.95/mo, that’s roughly $50 – $80 monthly for operating your WordPress blog in safe hand.

Now, on the other hand, WP Engine entry level plan costs $29/mo (for single WordPress site). This price includes various securities and maintenance features including daily backup, malware scanning, one-click restore point, managed upgrades, and hacker free guarantees.

Still think WP Engine is expensive? Well, think again.

What I Like The Most About WP Engine?

WPEngine = Premium WordPress Hosting, For Real!

The company’s talented people is what I love the most about WPEngine.

Co-founder Jason Cohen is the maker of Code Collaborator; Aaron Brazell, co-founder, has been actively developing WordPress since year 2004 and he wrote WordPress Bible; not to mention Ben Metcalfe, advisor, who has been around the WordPress development scene for a long time. These people are the experts who are involved with WordPress development from the very early days and trust me, they know all the bolts-and-nuts behind WordPress.

Reliable Hosting Server – 100% Site Uptime Record

WP Engine has a very stricy No-Overselling-Policy*; and, the web host allows you to get ‘clouded’ whenever necessary – In case of sudden traffic spikes or unplanned server outages, your web traffics will be automatically rerouted to other servers. Despite having StumbleUpo-impact twice (traffic increased 850% for more than four days); I am seeing 100% server uptime at all times (check my previous WP Engine Uptime Report).

* Useful Note:
(1): According to WPEngine term of service, all PHP opcode cache and non-media file-system cache are kept 100% in RAM; and, average CPU loads are limited below 0.2 per CPU. (2): Site hosted on WPEngine is optimized via series of unique configurations and server features, ie. WPEngine in-house caching system, file minification, proxy servers, Content Delivery Network (yes, the hosting service comes along with CDN!), dedicated memcached servers to support W3 Total Cache, and so on.

Assistance With Moving Your Sites

Confession: I did not move WHSR by myself during the switch.

For review purpose, I requested for an assisted migration. I did not install the fresh copy of WordPress, I did not do a MySQL transfer, I did not do any major FTP file transfers; all I did was filled up a form at WPEngine and Jeremy (WPEngine technical support staff) got it all fixed for me.

The transition process was ultra-smooth and the support I got from Jeremy is topnotch (friendly, efficient communication, and very knowledgable).

So for those who are worry about the shift (I know, especially if your WordPress site is huge and your life depends on it, there are plenty to think about), stay calm, help is a few clicks away at WPEngine.

Protective Policy To Assure Customer Satisfaction

Last but not least, I like how WPEngine conduct their business.

In fact, I was shock to find that the hosting company purposely make it very easy for customer to leave.

Firstly, WPEngine provides an easy way for users to download a complete copy of their WordPress site – not the usual WordPress ‘Export’ function but a full backup that includes database, system files, media uploads, and plugins. Secondly, unlike many other web hosting companies, WPEngine charges its customer on per month basis – this forces the company work hard consistently to earn customers’ business.

 Things You Might Not Like About WP Engine?

Before you get hooked, there are a few issues with WP Engine that you should know. We don’t live in a perfect world, so there are always pros and cons, ya?

Costly Host For Users With Multiple Websites

wpengine price

WP Engine hosting plans – Personal ($29/mo), Professional ($99/mo), and Business ($249/mo) – support 1/10/25 domains respectively. If you are running a number of low traffics sites then it is much better to host them with the usual ‘unlimited hosting’ that normally cost $8 to $12 per month.

No Email Hosting 

In my opinion, the biggest problem with WPEngine is email hosting. That’s right, the web host does not provide email or webmail features. If you want an email address ending with your domain name (something like email@mydomain.com), you will need to host your own email accounts.

Yes, I know you can always go with Gmail as Google provides free email hosting services (as recommended by WPEngine); but not all website owners want their data to be hosted with the big G (me included!).

However, stay no fear. I had tried a few different solutions when I switched my host to WPEngine and I had written a lengthy article on how to overcome this issue – What to do when your web host does not provide email hosting services – so… no big deal with that.

Other WP Engine Customer Reviews

wpengine customers

WP Engine is trusted by many big names; including HTC, FourSquare, SoundCloud, America’s Test Kitchen, etc. Here are some useful customer feedback on WP Engine I picked up from the Internet.

Almost Like Unicorns! “After hosting several high traffic WordPress sites it’s a relief to come to WP Engine. At SoundCloud we were looking for a hassle free provider to set up our blogs at, which we found in these guys. Swift replies, but also very open to feedback and eager to improve.” – Roel Van Der Ven @ SoundCloud.com

WP Engine is the best WordPress Hosting! “After seeing so much hype with WP Engine and my desire to have a faster website I decided to leave my UK hosting company and join the WP Engine crew. I signed up for the 1 year deal which you get 2 months free. While this hosting is $25 more a month than my previous host I wanted to see what all the hype was about. And, I have to say that I have been very impressed with the support and speed of WP Engine which is why they make my #1 spot for the best WordPress hosting as seen here.” – Lee Huges @ WP Reviews.

My blog is 4X Faster Than Your Blog. “When the New York Times told me they were doing a big story about my site, I knew I needed to get to a new host — like, yesterday. My old host had really nice and responsive staff, but whenever I had a traffic bump, my site was prone to crash. I’ve been on WordPress since 2007, and knew the time was right for a solution tuned specifically to its needs. WP Engine got my site onto their servers pronto, and when the Times story hit, the day went off without a single hitch — even though my pageviews quadrupled. Oh, and yes, my site speed is much, much faster. I’m a writer, not a techie, so I don’t really understand WP Engine’s ‘secret sauce’. But so far, so good — it’s rockin’ my site like never before.” – Pam Kueber @ RetroRenovation.com

I definitely recommend WP Engine. “My site was under attack from a Distributed Denial of Service attack on my old shared host. I was getting 1.5 million requests per hour that took my site down and 20 other sites who were also hosting on the same server. It took the old host three days to identify the problem, and even then offered no real solution. I switched to WP Engine and within hours the DDOS was dealt with *and* my website was loading about four times faster.” – David Vogelpohl @ MarketingClique.com

Well worth my investment. “The WP Engine support has been excellent. I now see the difference between paying $5 or $10 per month for hosting vs a group that charges $29+ but specializes in WordPress and delivers fast, reliable support.” – Dr. Joe Kravitz @ DentalImplants.us

Conclusion: Should You Go With WP Engine?

I do not recommend WP Engine to those who are new to blogging (go BlueHost or iPage instead – you’ll thank me for the much cheaper option). Also, if you need to host more than just WP sites, then there is no point tobe here . WP Engine is truly a rare gem (I had very good time with WP Engine in the past but sadly I can’t say the same for now. Please read the update note on top of this review) for WordPress users but it is not the right hosting for many.

However, WP Engine is your cup of tea, if…

  • You are running a single WordPress site with medium to high level traffics;
  • You think there is a possibility of your site hitting the front page of Reddit or Stumble Upon;
  • You are paying your rent with the income from your WordPress site;
  • You are always worry of hackers and DDos attacks;
  • You don’t like handling the tedious WordPress maintenance job;

Then WP Engine Hosting is undoubtedly the right host for you. Make the move as I did with WHSR and quit worrying about your site being hacked or down due to traffic surge.

Order WP Engine Now

For more details or to order WP Engine, visit (link opens in new window): http://www.wpengine.com