Quick Facts & Checklist
|Speed||305 ms (over the last 6 months, updated March 2021)|
|Uptime||99.99% (over the last 6 months, updated March 2021)|
|Features||Free SSL and SSH, Daily backups, Free automated migrations, 30+ premium themes, 60-Day Money-Back Guarantee|
|Hosting Plans||Managed WordPress Servers|
|Support||24/7 Live Chat, Phone, Email, Knowledge Base|
|Pricing||Plans start from £20.00 per month|
WP Engine Overview
What Is WP Engine?
UK-based WP Engine is a highly rated web host company, providing Premium Managed WordPress hosting.
Every hosting company claims to offer the fastest web hosting, lowest host prices and best performance, so it can be hard to see the wood for the trees.
This review will focus on WP Engine, a hosting provider with many impressive awards under their belt, such as the Best Workplaces for Women award, a Gold 2019 Stevie Winner for Sales & Customer Service award, and Digital Technology award.
They provide hosting for many companies, namely AMD, Network Rail and Soundcloud, building a pretty strong reputation for their three success targets; speed, security and performance. They certainly talk a good talk, but do the facts show that they can walk the walk?
Let’s find out.
Speed & Reliability
How Fast Is WP Engine?
When it comes to web hosting, speed matters. It would be fair to say that it is arguably the most crucial feature of a successful web host provider. Nowadays, users don’t like waiting around for too long.
However, while people may excuse a tedious traffic jam, the same certainly cannot be said for an online traffic jam. We expect the internet to be lightning-fast, and the responsibility for this falls mainly on hosting companies.
Unique Page Performance Tool
WP Hosting is well aware of the need for speed in web hosting, which is why they have created their Page Performance tool, in which users can test out their own site’s speed and performance.
Based on the results of this tool, they will then offer suggestions on how to improve the user’s site. Helpful and a great way of showing off that WP Engine knows their stuff. Nifty Page Performance tool aside, we all want to know how fast WP Engine’s load times are.
WP Engine Speed Test
On average (over six months), our WP Engine test sites’ response time was around 0.3 seconds. Indeed, if you were waiting in a real-life traffic jam, 0.3 seconds would be nothing, but it isn’t half bad in an online traffic jam either.
However, some web host providers (Cloudways, Kinsta, Hostinger) have recorded even faster load times, more in the region of 0.1/0.2 seconds. So while WP Engine is fast, however, they’re not necessarily the quickest web hosts.
So, if super faster hosting is your number one priority, perhaps you should look elsewhere – unless a couple of milliseconds don’t phase you.
Load Impact & Stress Test Results
However, loading times alone don’t paint the entire picture of performance, so we also check out how host plans fare under a bit of stress.
To do this, we use the K6 Load Impact tool to check out how our test site performs with up to 50 concurrent virtual visitors over five minutes.
WP Engine K6 Stress Test Results
The above chart shows that as the visitors increase (the grey line), the response time (the blue line) stays stable.
You can see that even at peak load of 50 virtual users, the average response time remained at 128ms. This points to underloaded servers that can handle traffic surges with ease.
WP Engine Hosting Uptime
Next up on the list of web hosting priorities is reliability. There’s no point worrying about a traffic jam if you can’t even get your car to start. When it comes to hosting services, reliability manifests in the form of uptime.
If you’re a hosting newbie and this term goes right over your head, don’t worry; it’s pretty simple. Uptime essentially refers to the amount of time the site is up and running.
After all, a website is somewhat redundant if the page can’t be found online.
Uptime is measured in percentages, with 100% being the best-case scenario and 0% being, well, not even worth mentioning. It’s a bit like the difference between a brand-new car fresh out of the factory and the old banger hidden in the garage that takes 30 mins to switch on.
With this analogy in mind, WP Engine is most undoubtedly fresh out of the factory. From our research, our monitored test site scored an excellent 99.99% Uptime.
There’s little room for improvement with that kind of score. So, while you could probably find (marginally) faster-hosting servers on the market, its uptime is faultless and nearly impossible to beat. Nice one, WP Engine.
Pricing & Plans
How Much Does WP Engine Cost?
Despite what you may assume, running a successful website isn’t cheap. While web hosting companies often offer a plethora of features to boost your site’s performance and ratings. They most definitely charge for the luxury, at least most of them do.
WP Engine’s Hosting Plans
WP Engine offers a 60-day money-back guarantee, which is always reassuring. This proves that the company is not the type to cheat their customers out of money, but that’s not to say that their prices aren’t on the slightly high side. Like most hosting companies, WP Engine split its prices into different packages.
They have four different pricing categories. The ‘Startup’ plan begins at £20 per month, moving up to £75 per month with the ‘Growth’ plan, £189 per month for the ‘Scale’ plan and concluding with a dedicated custom hosting solution. You would need to contact WP Engine to get a quote depending on your needs. This is a handy pricing system, and it ensures that you are not paying for excess services that you won’t need.
WP Engine’s Alternative Hosting Packages
As the prices go up, so do the features, with the number of sites included, visits allowed, storage and bandwidth gradually increasing with each price jump. I won’t deny that their prices are easily justified. However, are they the cheapest hosting provider on the market? Not quite.
Furthermore, WP Engine does not allow you to host their users’ email services within the set prices. Meaning customers will be charged an excess to add email hosting onto the service. The excess charges aren’t exactly going to break the bank, but add-ons have a habit of adding up, so watch out for it.
WP Engine vs Competitors Prices
Help & Support
How Good Is WP Engines Support?
When your website fails, it can feel like the world is ending, especially if your income is directly tied to your website.
With this in mind, it is essential that your hosting server has a good customer service policy not to find yourself left in the dark. Web hosting is a complicated business, and we all need a little help from time to time.
GoDaddy also offers instant messages through their website and WhatsApp.
WP Engine pride itself on their customer service, among many other things, but why? Well, the truth is their customer support is worth boasting about.
With 24/7 support available 365 days per year, the WP Engine customer support team is always about to help you out.
They offer a broad range of support for their customers, either in the form of live chat, phone call or helpful information for their customers to access on their website.
Extensive Online Support Materials
Their website boasts a vast number of helpful blogs covering all sorts of topics to help you with the running of your site. This includes how to set up your site and assistance with troubleshooting problems with your site.
In addition to this, they have a frequently asked questions section on their website. This means you may be able to sort your hosting problems out before even needing to speak to an individual.
However, if you do want direct contact, you can do this via the live chat service. There is a fair amount of competition between web host providers and their live chat load time.
When it comes to WP Engine, there is approximately a 3-minute live chat response time, so while you won’t be waiting in the lurch for too long, the process is far from instant.
Despite this, WP Engine has a solid and satisfied customer base, so it’s fair to say they must be doing something right.
Features & Products
What Features & Services Do WP Engine Offer?
Given the slightly inflated price of WP Engine (when compared to its competitors), hosting reviewers often look to their added features to justify the cost. So how does WP Engine rate when it comes to features?
They provide SSL and SSH protection, which is good but pretty typical of web host providers, so this feature does little to protect them above their competition.
Free Custom CDN
CDN is included in all plans, a nice added feature designed to improve your site’s overall speed and performance. In addition to this, they have a software called EverCache, designed to improve uptime by leveling out any unexpected spikes in traffic.
WP Engines Client Dashboard
For many people looking for a new web host provider, cPanel is an important feature. It’s the industry-standard control panel; however, this does not necessarily mean that it is the only usable control panel on the market.
WP Engine does not use cPanel. They use their own user Portal, which seems to work pretty well, but arguably not as well as cPanel.
Access to Premium StudioPress WordPress themes
However, what WP Engine lack in cPanel, they more than makeup for in their website builder options.
They have acquired StudioPress and give their users unlimited access to Premium WordPress themes and the Genesis framework for free.
This added feature is included in every single one of WP Engine’s price plans. It gives users a whole host of premium design options.
WP Engine Managed WordPress Comparison Chart
|Storage||10 GB||20 GB||50 GB|
|Bandwidth||25K Visits /mo.||100K Visits /mo.||400K Visits /mo.|
|Free Domain Name||✖︎||✖︎||✖︎|
|Free SSL Certificate||✔︎||✔︎||✔︎|
|24/7 customer service||✔︎||✔︎||✔︎|
|Money back guarantee||✔︎||✔︎||✔︎|
Despite these compelling added features, many users have complained that their interface is poorly designed and somewhat tricky to navigate.
It appears that to get access to some of these premium features, you have to trawl into the depths of WP Engine’s website, which isn’t good news for those just starting in the web hosting world.
However, it is nice to see that, while these added features may not be user-friendly, they are budget-friendly. Most of these features are available even on the basic ‘Startup’ plan. Always good to see, and perhaps an explanation for the slightly high prices.
Security & Protection
What Does WP Engines Security Look Like?
Remember our hosting priorities from earlier? Well, high up on that list is the security of your web host provider. Speed, performance and uptime mean little with a hosting provider that lacks a sturdy security system.
Furthermore, a whole host of sensitive information is stored on websites, especially if your site is an eCommerce site that collects private financial details. With this in mind, what measures does WP Engine have to protect its users?
WP Engine offers top security on all its packages
WP Engine use Global Edge Security
Their servers are constantly on the lookout for potential cyber-attacks with their Threat Detection and Blocking software. This means they have a healthy focus on prevention rather than recovery, saving their users a whole lot of money, time and effort.
Free SSL & Automatic Daily Back-Ups
Furthermore, they conduct daily backups on their users’ sites to save data loss, with a handy one-click restore feature for their users.
If these features weren’t enough to put your mind at ease, WP Engine also offers SSL and SSH protection at no extra cost.
Secure Socket Layer protection and Secure Shell protection essentially protect data in transit by encrypting it, keeping your private information away from prying eyes.
Pros & Cons
What We Like & Dislike About WP Engine
What Are The Alternatives To WP Engine?
Do We Recommend WP Engine?
Well, Yes we do!
There is a lot to like about WP Engine. Their hosting is solid and fast. They have a knack for high performance, good quality customer service and enticing added features.
While they rate well in all areas, WP Engine would not necessarily hold up well in a mainstream web hosting comparison. Many of their competitors would outperform them, primarily when it comes to price and scalability.
Essentially, WP Engine is a good choice if you have a moderate budget and are looking for a hosting server that performs well with small-scale sites. However, if you’re looking to scale up the number of sites hosted and scale down on price, you should maybe look elsewhere.
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