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WP Engine Review
Updated: 2022-08-03 / Article by: Jerry Low
Company: WP Engine
Background: WP Engine came into being in 2010, the same year WordPress version 3 was released. At the time, this popular Content Management System (CMS) powered less than 13% of websites globally. Today, almost half of all websites run WordPress, justifying the whopping $290 million in funding raised by WP Engine. The company is also relatively unique in another sense. Unlike many other web hosting companies that get sold as soon as profitable, WP Engine founder Jason Cohen remains at the company, functionally as Chief Technology Officer.
WP Engine is relatively unique in the web hosting space. It only offers Cloud-based Managed WordPress hosting solutions. While relatively niche, it does give users serious about WordPress an impressive launchpad for high-performance sites based on this platform. Their systems run on Google Cloud infrastructure.
WP Engine web hosting services aren’t for the faint of heart. The rock-solid infrastructure assures robust and fast performance, and their narrow field of focus allows the hiring of highly focused technical experts for customer support.
1. WP Engine Runs Exclusively on Google Cloud
All of the hosting plans at WP Engine run on Google’s Cloud platform. Although many web hosts offer this option, few offer Cloud-based WordPress hosting as transparently as WP Engine. You’re getting the best Cloud-based web hosting without any management requirements, specifically designed to host WordPress websites.
It’s an impressively niche area that appeals to many users. As we can see from the massive funding that WP Engine raised, it’s also a recognized recipe for success. It’s a good sign for users If the investors can see that potential.
The power of Google Cloud combines well with WP Engine technologies such as EverCache. These combos aim to reduce server loads while boosing WordPress website speeds to the limits of their potential.
WP Engine customers note varying levels of performance improvement over prior experiences. One customer, Doug Phelps of EBQ, noted up to ten times faster page load speed improvement with few or no changes made to his website.
2. 24/7 Specialized Support Services
Unless you’re running on WP Engine's cheapest plan, you have direct phone access to their WordPress specialist support team. That’s in addition to always-available live chat from their website.
These, however, are just the starting tiers of support for regular users.
WP Engine understands that some users are more advanced than others. Because of that, they identify customers with special needs and provide a unique direct-to-engineer communication service that brings expert skills closer to the right customers.
3. WP Engine Manages All Technical Detail
WP Engine manages everything about WordPress and the Cloud platform. That means you, as the customer, are free to focus on more pressing needs like growing your website traffic and building important content.
They fully vet core updates and all major patches for WordPress before they roll things out to various customers. In Addition, server updates aren't merely for maintenance but are often aimed at performance enhancements.
One example of this is their ability to run the latest PHP versions. Often, this alone will bring remarkable speed improvements. You get to choose the PHP version you want and even preview performance to ensure it’s right for your needs.
4. Great Site Performance with Advanced Network & Multiple Data Centers
Another benefit of WP Engine’s Google-based hosting solution is access to advanced network and a much larger selection of data centers.
The closer your server location is to targeted visitors, the faster its response time. WP Engine offers a choice of data centers that spread the globe, covering the US, Middle East, Africa, Europe, and the Asia Pacific region. You’ll likely find a location that meets your needs, not simply somewhere within a few thousand miles.
WP Engine is ending its partnership with MaxCDN from October 2022. To enable CDN, WP Engine users now must enable Advanced Network or Global Edge Security. The move offers two significant advantages:
HTTP/3 support and better network routing via Cloudflare Argo Smart Routing will help reduce the time it takes for your data to reach visitors. That translates to faster overall website loading speeds; and
Tiered Caching helps optimize data delivery. Argo introduces an intelligent element that considers your overall visitor load. It then chooses the best network path for each request to improve data delivery speeds.
If you’re hesitant about WP Engine due to the prices, you’ll be glad to know you can test the service extensively first. All plans here (except the high performance and custom plans) come with a 60-day money-back guarantee.
To put things in perspective, most web hosts will offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, and seldom even that for Cloud hosting. This offer goes a long way to demonstrate WP Engine’s confidence in their product.
6. Automated 30-Day Backup Cycles With Easy Restore
For added assurance, all data on your WP Engine web hosting plans is automatically backed up daily. They retain 30-days worth of backups so you can roll back on any updates you’ve made by mistake. The backups apply to everything, including your WordPress production, staging, and development site data.
In addition, they’ll create more backups before you do anything significant, such as restore, copy, or deploy your website. Restoring any data backups is also easy, and it’s a feature accessible from your user portal. You won’t need to contact support to handle this for you.
Retore functions are also pretty comprehensive. It’s not just a matter of direct restoration, but you can even do cross-restoration from different environments.
Cons: WP Engine Drawbacks and Disadvantages
Given how well WP Engine performs, it’s hard to imagine any disadvantages. Yet nothing is perfect, and I have my fair share of peeves with the service. Some are petty dislikes, while others are kind of unimaginable.
1. No Email Services Included
For the price you’re paying to use WP Engine, it boggles the mind that they exclude email from their hosting packages. Email hosting is typically an integral part of most website hosting packages for those unfamiliar. It allows you to use the web host to send and receive emails with a custom domain name like [email protected] for better brand recognition.
While there are some potential reasons why WP Engine may not include it, the point is that you need to pay more for this service. Given how much you already pay for your web hosting, that additional cost is hard to justify.
WP Engine offers a minuscule amount of resources than most contemporaries. This lack can be glaring in some areas, like the bandwidth they allow per month. Most industry limits here are in Terabytes, not Gigabytes.
You’re also only allowed a specific limit of visitors per month, which is even stranger. Although WP Engine doesn't count bots, there’s no real reason to quantify visitor count as a plan limitation, especially since bandwidth is already limited.
WP Engine Plans & Pricing
WP Engine is dedicated to a purpose and only offers Cloud-based WordPress hosting. That means it’s a platform service provider, making things easy to list here. You essentially have no options except in resource scale.
WP Engine Pricing
Aside from the cheapest plan with more restrictions, WP Engine plans mostly just add more resources. Feature-wise, they’re identical. This might be a key reason why prices jump significantly once you pass the introductory stage.
Automated Daily Backups
Alternatives to WP Engine Web Hosting
Alternative #1: Cloudways
Established in 2011, Cloudways is a systems integrator who helps people deploy their solutions on a variety of Cloud platforms. They claim that they are serving more than 600,000 WordPress sites – which is an exciting achievement in itself. This site you are reading right now – WHSR, is powered by WordPress and hosted on Cloudways.
The best part about Cloudways in comparison to WP Engine is their pricing. Both WP Engine and Cloudways are powered by Cloud infrastructure – yet you would be paying half of WP Engine's price for the same or better server features when you opt for Cloudways + Digital Ocean plans.
Kinsta is one of the few service providers that offer similar services to WP Engine. It’s also a Cloud-based WordPress hosting specialist and prices its solutions at similar tiers. Comparatively, they’re both notable brands in this space of the industry.
One of the core reasons for the similar provision between WP Engine and Kinsta is their mutual reliance on Google Cloud infrastructure. Google is expensive, and these costs have to be somehow passed on to consumers.
I’ve heard many people complain about the prices that WP Engine charges for its hosting plans. Perhaps because of how they market the plans, many people seem to fail to recognize that WP Engine is a highly specialized managed hosting service provider.
That makes what they do relatively unique in the web hosting space, and the quality of hosting is clear. The company's in-house developers and support staff are deeply familiar with the platform, and that expertise shows.
Yes, WP Engine offers excellent product quality. Aside from innovative technologies of its own, WP Engine also uses the Google Cloud platform. Combined with expert support, WP Engine plans offer a robust and stable platform to base WordPress websites.
Is WP Engine safe?
WP Engine is a safe hosting service provider. It takes strong security measures to secure the hosting environment. These include disk write protection and limitations, bans on certain insecure plugins, a proprietary firewall, etc.
Is WP Engine Fast?
WP Engine offers highly competitive speed advantages. This is due to the wide range of data center locations that help visitors accurately target specific geolocations. In addition, some technologies like EverCache also help increase website performance.
How reliable is WP Engine?
Thanks to Cloud infrastructure, WP Engine-based websites are exceptionally reliable. Cloud infrastructure is highly redundant, so if anything breaks, other components can temporarily handle the server load while repairs are underway.
Does WordPress own WP Engine?
No, WP Engine is a private company founded and owned by Jason Cohen. While it provides WordPress hosting services, it is not owned by Automattic, the parent company that runs WordPress.
Founder of WebHostingSecretRevealed.net (WHSR) - a hosting review trusted and used by 100,000's users. More than 15 years experience in web hosting, affiliate marketing, and SEO. Contributor to ProBlogger.net, Business.com, SocialMediaToday.com, and more.