Is your WordPress website in need of a speed boost? Extra security? Would you like features like automatic website backups, automatic updates for your WordPress software, and a collection of top-notch premium WordPress themes included with your hosting package?
If these things sound good to you, then you might want to consider managed WordPress hosting (instead of the regular ‘shared' hosting). And when it comes to big players in this field, WP Engine might just be your go-to choice.
In this review, we will explain what you get when you sign up with WP Engine. We'll also examine the loading speeds you can expect (we've conducted thorough tests with popular themes), uptime performance, load-impact tests (how they handle a surge in website traffic), and everything else they have in their bag of offerings.
If you're tired of reading hosting reviews that just list features and promotional content, this WP Engine review is a breath of fresh air. It will give you all the facts and data you need to make an informed decision about choosing WP Engine.
About WP Engine Managed WordPress Hosting
WP Engine might not have been the first to offer managed WordPress hosting (that credit goes to Pagely), but they are now the biggest and most well-known company in this field. With over 120,000 customers in 140 countries, WP Engine has extensive experience in hosting a wide range of WordPress sites. According to their marketing, “five percent of the online world visits at least one experience on WP Engine each day.”
They offer high-performance hosting optimized for WordPress websites and handle many ongoing tasks required to maintain a stable and secure WordPress site. WP Engine is a strong contender for anyone who requires more than what standard low-cost web hosts can provide.
But does WP Engine live up to the marketing hype? Is it worth the extra cost? Let's take a closer look.
Why Choose WP Engine?
As mentioned, WP Engine specializes in managed WordPress hosting, which means they excel in creating hosting environments designed specifically for WordPress websites. This not only results in faster loading times but also ensures your website runs smoothly and securely.
But what does this mean in terms of features and functionality?
- Premium Managed WordPress Environment: If you dig into WP Engine's hosting plan details, you'll notice that they offer shared hosting. But don't be put off by the term “shared hosting.” As our test results later in this review show, WP Engine's entry-level shared hosting outperforms traditional shared hosting where numerous websites share the same server. With WP Engine, you get access to well-resourced shared hosting optimized for WordPress, which compares favorably with the best premium WordPress hosting services out there.
- Choice of StudioPress Genesis WordPress Themes: WP Engine acquired StudioPress in July 2018, a theme development company that created the popular Genesis Framework and a collection of premium WordPress themes. WP Engine customers now have access to the Genesis Framework and 35 StudioPress WordPress themes at no extra cost. These themes cover various categories, making it easier to choose a theme for your site. This not only simplifies theme selection but also saves you money.
- Automatic WordPress Software Updates: As part of their managed hosting service, WP Engine keeps your website's core WordPress software up to date, ensuring you're using the latest version of WordPress. They test each update to ensure it's stable before applying it to your website. You also have the option to defer the installation of an upcoming WordPress core software update.
- Automated WordPress Website Backups: WP Engine backs up your website automatically every night, including WordPress core files, themes, plugins, and the database. This makes it easy to restore your site to a previous state if something goes wrong. You can also manually create backups through the WP Engine user portal.
- WordPress Development and Staging Environments: WP Engine offers a production environment where your live website is hosted and two additional environments for efficient development workflows. You can create your site in the development environment, share it with clients or team members in the staging environment for testing, and then push it to the production environment when it's ready to go live.
- Create Transferable WordPress Websites for Clients: With WP Engine, you can use the transferable environment feature to create working WordPress websites for clients. These sites don't count against your hosting plan's site allowance, and they're password-protected. You can choose to start with a fresh WordPress installation or use an existing site on your account as a foundation.
- WP Engine GeoTarget Tool: If you want to display different versions of your website content to visitors based on their geographic location, WP Engine's GeoTarget feature can help. It detects a visitor's location and displays predefined content. You can even use zip codes to target your audience with relevant content. However, please note that this feature is available as a paid add-on.
Technical Details of WP Engine Managed Hosting
For those interested in the technical aspects of WP Engine hosting plans, here's a breakdown:
- Website Caching: Regular website caching and optional object caching for database queries.
- Content Delivery Network (CDN): All WP Engine plans include CDN access from MaxCDN at no extra cost.
- PHP: Ability to switch between PHP 7.2 and 7.3.
- HTTP/2.0: In use on the servers and the CDN.
- SSL: Use the free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate, import your own certificate, or purchase one through WP Engine.
- SFTP: Ability to create multiple secure FTP accounts for web space access.
- Server File Manager: No online file manager, just FTP access.
- Database Access: Use phpMyAdmin to access the WordPress website database through a browser.
- Email Service: No email service on any of the WP Engine plans.
- WordPress Website Management: WordPress software updates are automatic, but plugins and themes are not updated automatically.
- Plugin Restrictions: Some plugins are disallowed, including certain caching, backup, and optimization plugins.
- Security Measures: Websites are scanned for malware and other security issues, with the support team taking action if any issues are detected.
- Post-Hack Clean-Up Services: WP Engine will pay Sucuri to fix your site if it's hacked while hosted by them.
- Data Center Locations: You can choose from server locations in the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia through a partnership with Google Cloud Platform.
- Staging Sites: All plans include staging and development environments, alongside the production environment, with easy site transfer between environments.
- WordPress Website Migration: WP Engine provides a free plugin to help migrate your WordPress website to their hosting platform.
- Visitor Analytics: You can view website traffic data and resource usage through the WP Engine user portal dashboard.
- Uptime Checks: WP Engine monitors the front end of your site for downtime and also keeps an eye on overall site health. Action is taken if an issue is detected.
- Support Channels: Live chat support is available 24/7 on all plans, while 24/7 phone support is available on all plans except the entry-level Startup plan. 24/7 ticket support is reserved for custom plans.
WP Engine Customer User Experience
WP Engine offers a wide range of useful features, making website management more convenient. Here's a closer look at the user experience:
Installing WordPress: Setting up a new WordPress website through WP Engine is straightforward. You can choose to start with a fresh WordPress installation or copy from an existing site on your account. You'll receive an email once your site is ready. You can initially use a WP Engine subdomain for your website's URL, and later connect it to your domain.
Installing a StudioPress WordPress Theme: WP Engine customers can access 35 premium WordPress themes from StudioPress. To use one of these themes on your website, download the file from your WP Engine user portal and upload it to your WordPress Dashboard.
WordPress Website Management: With WP Engine, WordPress installations come with an auto-enabled mandatory configuration plugin. Through this plugin, you can clear the website cache, create a staging site, and access your WP Engine user portal and support area. Most website management features are accessible through your account area on the WP Engine website.
Web Hosting Performance
WP Engine excels in offering a stable, high-performance hosting environment for WordPress. Let's delve into its performance:
Loading Time Test Results: WP Engine is known for its fast loading times. Whether you use a basic theme or a feature-rich multipurpose theme like Avada, your site should load quickly with WP Engine.
Load Impact Performance Testing: WP Engine handles multiple simultaneous visitors without any noticeable impact on site performance.
Uptime Test Results: WP Engine aims for at least 99.95% uptime, and our monitoring results show they consistently maintain this level.
WP Engine offers three predefined hosting plans, each catering to different needs:
- Startup: $25 per month for one WordPress website, up to 25,000 visits, 50 GB bandwidth per month, and 10 GB of storage.
- Growth: $95.83 per month for ten WordPress websites, up to 100,000 visits, 200 GB bandwidth per month, and 20 GB of storage.
- Scale: $241.67 per month for 30 WordPress websites, up to 400,000 visits, 500 GB bandwidth per month, and 50 GB of storage.
Each plan includes access to StudioPress themes and a free SSL certificate. You can add more WordPress websites to your plan for $20 per site per month. WP Engine also offers optional paid extras.
Overage Fees: If you exceed your plan's bandwidth or visitor limits, overage costs apply, with $2 per thousand extra monthly visitors.
WP Engine delivers on its promise of stable, high-performance WordPress hosting. Their extra features, such as automatic backups, security scanning, and WordPress updates, simplify website management. Access to premium WordPress themes from StudioPress adds value.
While the plans are not the cheapest, if your site generates revenue, is vital to your business, or is outgrowing your current host, WP Engine is worth considering. Their competitive 60-day money-back guarantee allows you to try their service without risk.