WP Engine Review – Absolutely Worthwhile with Solid Featuresby Jerlynn
“WP Engine focuses only on WordPress hosting with the tagline ‘WordPress Hosting, Perfected’.”
With WordPress powering over 30% of all websites, it is no wonder then that many web hosting services are scrambling to host this content management system.
One of the bigger names in this space is WP Engine.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of this web hosting provider, let’s get to know this host a little better first.
Founded by Jason Cohen in 2010, WP Engine is now headquartered in Austin, Texas with offices in San Antonio, Limerick, London, San Francisco, and Brisbane.
Today, the host supports “over 85,000 customers in over 140 countries and over 500,000 web experiences globally.”
Even more remarkable is WP Engine’s claim that “5% of the web visits a site on WP Engine’s platform every day.”
Well, color us impressed, then.
In this WP Engine Review, we are popping up the ‘Engine’ hood and checking everything — including server response time, uptime, support, pricing, and more.
Let’s crack on!
1. Server Response Time
According to WP Engine, it utilizes its proprietary Evercache system to maximize speed.
Besides that, its fully-managed global content delivery network (CDN) also helps in this regard by routing local requests to the nearest server.
What this means in terms of performance is that your site can effortlessly manage traffic spikes.
And, if you are switching over from another host, WP Engine even goes so far as to claim that you will “enjoy an average of 27% faster load times by switching to WP Engine.”
But not one to just accept claims, we ran some tests of our own to check out its loading speeds.
A quick run-through Pingdom yields the following results:
- London: 1.81 seconds
- Tokyo: 2.33 seconds
- Washington D.C.: 1.24 seconds
- San Francisco: 1.87 seconds
- Sydney: 4.00 seconds
- São Paulo: 2.11 seconds
- Frankfurt: 2.06 seconds
Sadly, it appears that WP Engine’s loading speeds are wildly inconsistent.
Worse, the loading speeds are far from impressive, too.
We all know how speed impacting our daily life, a millisecond means a lot in today’s standard.
That’s why we tested the fastest cloud storage. Well, back to our WP Engine speed test.
At most, we would classify them as simply mediocre.
The closer the visitor to your site is to the data center, the better the server response time will be.
In this case, it does appear that WP Engine has it covered as it has data centers all around the world.
Some of the data center server locations include Mountain View (California), London (UK), St. Ghislain (Belgium), Germany, Canada, Australia, and Changhua County (Taiwan).
So, make sure that you opt for the data center location nearest to where the majority of your site visitors are coming from.
Uptime is essentially the amount of time that your site is available to visitors over a given period.
It is also generally the most important metric for a host.
You want a web hosting provider that delivers near-perfect uptime to ensure that you do not lose out on visitors or customers.
As we could not find a specific uptime anywhere in WP Engine’s site, we turned to its live chat for help.
According to a WP Engine’s representative, the host guarantees no less than 99.5% server and site uptime.
That translates to a little over four hours of downtime a year — not the best in the market but still somewhat decent.
You can contact WP Engine via three ways: 24/7 live chat (as you can see above), phone call, and email.
As usual, our preferred method remains the live chat.
WP Engine’s live chat system is efficient and convenient.
A customer service agent is almost immediately available to help you.
The agent we chatted with appears to be quite knowledgeable.
We do, however, have some minor gripes based on our conversation with the agent.
First, there was quite a bit of a wait between our questions/statements and the agent’s replies.
Besides that, the agent also pushed for a phone call instead of continuing via live chat.
While we can certainly appreciate the efficacy of phone calls, it is worth bearing in mind that people usually opt for the contact method they are most comfortable with.
Lastly, when we asked for an explanation to a simple question, the agent referred us to a link — to an old article, no less — rather than actually explaining it.
We know there’s a FAQ section, but most of the time it will not solve our specific problem.
Just like every other web host, WP Engine, too, offers something extra to appear more attractive.
One of the more helpful freebies is that WP Engine comes with 36 premium themes featuring built-in SEO and security.
Besides that, the host also performs daily backups on your site to ensure the safety of your content and your site.
There is also, of course, the more typical offerings including free CDN and SSL certificates.
SSL or Secure Sockets Layer is a security protocol that allows safe sending of sensitive information (such as credit card information) over the Internet.
With the free SSL certificates, visitors to your site can safely browse or shop with no reservations.
Unfortunately, WP Engine does not offer email addresses and you would have to register with an external company for mail.
Apart from that, it also does not provide a free domain name — which is a crying shame.
Especially so when you have many much cheaper hosts like Bluehost, Hostinger, and Dreamhost all providing free domains.
With WP Engine, you would need to register for a domain name with a domain registrar like NameCheap.
There is really no way to sugarcoat this: WP Engine is expensive.
But, it is worth mentioning that WP Engine (for the most part) targets developers, agencies, and bigger-sized businesses.
They are not catering to those new to web hosting or those running small blogging sites — at least not specifically.
Hence, its prices also reflect its target market.
However, if you are looking to grow your site and have the money to spend, absolutely do not let WP Engine’s target market deter you.
Now, WP Engine offers four plans: Startup, Growth, Scale, and Custom.
This entry-level plan is meant for a small website or blog. It costs $30.00 per month (if paid annually) but is currently discounted to $25.00 per month.
Here, you get support for up to 25,000 visits per month, one website, 10GB of storage, and 50GB of bandwidth.
Also included are things such as access to Evercache, automated SSL certificates, and a few more features.
A step above Startup, Growth comes with features for a growing business. Its normal price is $115.00 per month (if paid annually) but is currently only $95.83 per month.
This plan provides support for up to 100,000 visits per month, 10 websites, 20GB of storage, and 200GB of bandwidth.
On top of that, you also have access to all the features available to Startup with the addition of 24/7 phone support and imported SSL certificates.
Next up in the line is Scale which is equipped to handle a higher capacity in every aspect. It is currently priced at $241.67 per month (if paid annually) but its normal price is $290.00 per month.
Here, there is support for up to 400,000 visits per month, 30 websites, 50GB of storage, and 500GB of bandwidth. As for the additional features, you have access to all the features available to Growth.
Lastly, WP Engine also offers Custom for large businesses and “mission-critical sites.” As the name suggests, the plan will be customized to your needs. Here, you have to call a WP Engine sales representative in order to proceed.
The pricing will, of course, vary accordingly. One thing is for sure: it is definitely going to cost you a considerable sum of money as WP Engine is a premium WordPress host with premium features.
If you have the budget for it, WP Engine is absolutely worth a second look with its solid features.
However, if you have no need for bells and whistles, on the other hand, our advice is to go for one of the somewhat more ‘mainstream’ (and cheaper) hosts such as SiteGround and DreamHost.