WP Engine Review

WP Engine Review 2021 – Managed WordPress Hosting, But Worth the Cost?

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So you’ve recently started a business, or you’ve determined that your existing business needs an online presence. Maybe you even have the domain name already picked out, you just need a place to park it and bring your website to life. That, of course, is where a hosting platform comes in.

WP Engine is a top managed hosting company known for prioritizing the speed, security, and performance of the sites they host. It is the premier choice in managed WordPress hosting and boasts a wealth of fantastic features, including speed tools, automatic site backup, and a free SSL certificate.

As you might expect, all of these great features come at a fairly steep price tag. Is WP Engine worth the money? Read on to see what you think. In this article, you’ll learn all about this hosting platform’s top features, pros and cons, available plans, and frequently asked questions.

What is WP Engine?

In short, WP Engine is a managed WordPress hosting platform. Managed hosting differs from shared hosting in that your site is alone on a single server. With shared hosting, multiple sites will be on the same server.

Managed hosting comes with a number of benefits over regular shared hosting. Since your site is alone on its own server, the site can be more well-maintained, or “managed” by the hosting company. This improves speed, leads to better security features, and increases the overall performance of your site.

WP Engine doesn’t skimp in any of these areas. In fact, it offers a variety of tools to optimize speed and performance, as well as some exclusive security features that you won’t find with other hosting companies.

What are these tools and features? What is it that sets WP Engine apart from the other hosting platforms out there? Keep reading to find out!

What Are WP Engine’s Top Benefits and Features?

WP Engine is considered one of the best managed hosting platforms on the internet because they simply get the job done better than anyone else. Here are some of the features you can expect if you sign up for a plan with WP Engine.

It’s All About The Speed

If you’re a site owner, the last thing you want is a website that takes forever to load. Internet users are notoriously impatient. Even an extra second or two of loading time can not only cause you to lose traffic, but can discourage people from returning to your site at a later time.

So, obviously, the speed and responsiveness of your website is extremely important. But what if you don’t know how to make your site run faster?

No worries. WP Engine can manage that side of things for you.

The truth is, there are a lot of factors that play into site speed, and you could spend hours a day trying to maximize your site’s performance. Or, you could let WP engine handle the site speed and performance so you can spend more time designing your site and marketing your brand.

WP Engine offers various tools to help you monitor your site’s speed and improve its performance. Check them out:

  • You can see How Your Site is Doing With the Page Performance Tool. This tool is exceptionally easy to use. It is located in the User Portal, and all you have to do to use it is enter your site’s URL. It will instantly return an overview of your site’s performance and speed, complete with summaries and graphs for convenient reading.

This tool will show you how long it takes your site to load, file sizes, resources used by your site, and recommendations for improving your website’s speed and performance. The recommendations, in particular, are great to have, because they give you customized feedback and actionable steps for improving your site.

  • You Can Boost Your Speed with Included CDN Access. Content delivery networks, or CDNs, allow your specific server to work together with other servers around the world, which reduces delay in page loading and improves the overall speed of your site. WP Engine includes CDN access with all of its hosting plans.
  • Site Caching is Easy with Numerous Cache Tools. EverCache, a tool built into the WP Engine User Portal, improves speed by handling spikes in traffic and keeping things running smoothly without causing or experiencing downtime.

Still other cache tools such as Memcached and object caching come built into the platform, so all you have to do is enable them in the portal and press a button to purge them.

  • The WP Engine Speed Tool is Available to Everyone, Not Just Users. Anyone with a website, whether hosted by WP Engine or not, can check their site speed using WP Engine’s free speed tool. This is great if you want to get a feel for how WP Engine works before purchasing a plan, or if you are simply wondering how fast your site is.

With all of these great features, you should be able to build your site and focus on promoting your business without worrying whether your website will be able to keep up.

Add in a Boatload of Security Features

Of course, security is every bit as important as speed. When people visit your site, they want to know that they’re clicking on a secure link that won’t infect their device or take advantage of their information.

As a site owner, you also want to know that your information is protected, both for the sake of your site visitors and yourself.

WP Engine takes website security as seriously as you do, and they have lots of different tools and features to make sure both you and your site visitors are protected. What are some of these tools and features?

  • WP Engine Will Detect and Block Potential Threats. The WP Engine platform has built-in traffic monitoring features, allowing them to pick up on suspicious patterns and identify possible hackers before they can damage your site. They will then block the suspicious users to protect your site.

These monitoring activities come with any WP Engine plan you sign up for. They take the headache out of protecting your site and free you up to focus on marketing and brand development.

  • Automatic Patching Prevents Site Vulnerability. Patches are essentially updates that are made to the WordPress Software. Anytime new patches are added to WordPress core, WP Engine will update your site automatically. This ensures you don’t miss any necessary updates, which in turn keeps your site protected from external threats.
  • Free SSL Certificates are Offered with All Plans. An SSL, or secure sockets layer, is what ensures all the content on your site is secure. Websites that have an SSL certificate are denoted by “HTTPS” at the beginning of their URL, instead of just the standard “HTTP.”

Why is that important for your site? It lets your visitors know that they have landed on a secure site. It’s also a sign of professionalism.

With many hosting plans, you have to buy an SSL certificate separately. But with WP Engine, this certificate is included in any plan you choose.

  • Automatic Site Backup is Included in All Plans. Of course, even with all of these security features in place, your site may still experience problems. Just in case you ever lose any of your content or run into trouble, WP Engine provides automatic backups daily or anytime new information is added to your site.

What’s more, if you ever need to make use of this feature and restore your site, all you have to do is click a button in the User Portal. Site restoration is easy and painless with this essential security tool.

  • WordPress Experts Will Fix a Hacked Site for Free. Yes, you read that right. If, despite every precaution and security feature, some skilled hacker finds their way to your site, WP Engine will have it fixed at no extra cost to you.

This nearly unheard-of benefit is included with all plans and will give you an ultimate layer of security and peace of mind.

How About Exceptional Site Staging?

Let’s say you want to experiment with some changes to your website, but you want your website to remain live while you’re tinkering with it. Of course, you don’t want any visitors to see the site while you’re working on it, but you also don’t want to lose traffic while you’re down for maintenance.

That’s where staging comes in.

A staging environment basically allows you to clone your site. You can then work on the clone, testing out changes and updating content, while your original site remains live and unchanged. If you decide to implement the changes you made to the clone site, all you have to do is click a button to update the original site.

This feature, included in all WP Engine plans, is great whether you’re managing and editing your own website or working with a group to design websites for others.

You Get Access to Premium Themes

Thanks to a merger between WP Engine and StudioPress, all WP Engine users get access to over 30 professional, premium themes created by StudioPress. These themes make it easy to design a beautiful site that will further promote your business or brand through its sleek, professional appearance.

The Customer Support is Unparalleled

WP Engine employs over 200 WordPress professionals around the world, so someone is always there to assist you no matter what time of day or night it is.

These employees aren’t just trained to help you with your hosting issues; they are all WordPress experts who are knowledgeable in all areas of the WordPress platform. So, whether you’re having trouble getting your site set up or need help upgrading your plan, WP Engine’s support staff is there for you.

There are many different ways to get in touch with a member of customer support, including:

  • Online live chat through the WP Engine website
  • Support provided through the User Portal
  • Phone conversation
  • A separate billing support area of their website

No matter where you’re reaching out from or what time of day it is, someone will likely be available to help you. WP Engine advertises a quick average wait time of just 3 minutes when you reach out through live chat. The support staff are known for being friendly, knowledgeable, and willing to go the extra mile to resolve any issues you may have.

Data Centers and Tech Partners Enhance Worldwide Coverage

WP Engine has 18 data centers around the world, giving you more localized service no matter where you are. This is part of why WP Engine websites are fast and perform so well.

In addition, WP Engine boasts some pretty serious tech partners, such as Google Cloud, AWS, and HubSpot. These services provide a number of plugins and platforms for different types of hosting depending on your specific needs.

The Guarantees Back it All Up

WP Engine is pretty confident in what it has to offer. So confident, in fact, that they offer a couple of different guarantees to you, a valued customer:

  • 99.95 percent uptime guarantee. Uptime has to do with when your site is live and experiencing no technical difficulties. It’s basically the opposite of “down for maintenance.”

While a 100-percent guarantee would be ideal, and some hosting companies do offer it, it is nearly impossible to completely guarantee 100-percent uptime. WP Engine comes about as close to perfect as a hosting company can get without making impossible claims or using false advertising.

  • 60-day money back guarantee. This is the big one for many users. Most hosting plans offer a money back guarantee, but many of them are only for 30 days. WP Engine gives you not one but two full months to try out the platform. If you’re not satisfied with it for whatever reason, simply reach out to billing support for a full refund.

These guarantees point to the professionalism and confidence of the company, as well as their continuous efforts to put their customers first.

How About the Drawbacks?

Of course, no product or service is perfect, and despite all of the fantastic features WP Engine has to offer, it also comes with its own share of drawbacks. Let’s take a closer look at some of the cons of WP Engine.

No Domain Names or Email Hosting

WP Engine doesn’t provide domain names, either included with their plans or purchased separately. This means that you’ll need to purchase your domain name through another provider and import it over to WP Engine.

Also, if you’re looking to build an email list through your site, you’ll have to buy an email hosting plan from a separate provider.

These are two huge features that would be nice to have included with WP Engine plans, or at least offered as add-ons through the platform.

The User Portal is Different from cPanel

If you’ve used WordPress in the past, you’ve probably gotten used to the platform’s cPanel, or control dashboard. However, the dashboard offered through WP Engine, known as the User Portal, has a much different design than the usual cPanel structure.

This isn’t a huge deal, especially if you aren’t already used to the usual look and design of WordPress dashboards. Even if you are, the User Portal may require a bit of a learning curve, but it is overall simple and easy to use. But for those who are happy with the cPanel format and unwilling to adjust to changes, the User Portal may be challenging to get used to.

Certain Plugins are Disallowed

While WP Engine generally allows users plenty of freedom in terms of the plugins they use, there are some plugins that they don’t allow on their platform. All of the banned plugins have been known to cause problems with the platform, so they were disallowed in order to allow the platform to work as efficiently and completely as possible.

Still, some users may be irritated by the limitations caused by the banned plugins. If you’re concerned about exactly which plugins have been disallowed, you can find a complete list via a quick search.

WP Engine Only Hosts WordPress

This has probably become obvious by now, but WP Engine is a WordPress-only platform; it doesn’t work with any other content management system. Though WordPress is the most popular and well-known CMS on the market, there are definitely others out there.

If you have a favorite CMS other than WordPress, then you’ll probably want to look for a different hosting platform than WP Engine. 

It’s Going to Cost You

Managed hosting in general isn’t cheap, and WP Engine is no exception. Even the startup plan can get expensive, real fast–especially if you don’t yet have enough traffic or income to offset the cost.

On that note, let’s talk about the cost of WP engine in detail.

What Does WP Engine Cost?

WP Engine offers several different plan levels as well as specific categories within each level. As you might imagine, each level and category comes at a different price and with its own set of features.

The most inexpensive plan, a basic managed hosting startup, is currently priced at $25 per month. Let’s go through each of the plans to get a better idea for the prices and specific features included with each.

WP Engine Startup Plan Cost

WP Engine offers four Startup plans: Managed Hosting, Managed Hosting Plus, Secure Hosting, and eCommerce Hosting. Here are the current prices for each:

  • Managed Hosting: $25/ month
  • Managed Hosting Plus: $28/ month
  • Secure Hosting: $44/ month
  • eCommerce Hosting: $30/ month

Each of these plans contain all of the features and benefits discussed earlier in this article. Each plan is good for one website with up to 25,000 visitors per month, and each one comes with 10 GB of storage as well as 50 GB of bandwidth per month.

The Plus plan comes with a few added features, including automated plugin updates and testing. The Security plan boasts even more security features, including firewall and DDoS protection. The eCommerce Plan is tailored specifically for selling online, with the ability to easily create an online store and easy to use WooCommerce template.

WP Engine Professional Plan Costs

WP Engine’s Professional plans fall into the same four categories as the Startup plans. Current pricing is as follows:

  • Managed Hosting: $49/ month
  • Managed Hosting Plus: $52/ month
  • Secure Hosting: $75/ month
  • eCommerce Hosting: $62/ month

The Professional plans are nearly identical to their equivalent startup plans, as they contain everything that’s included in the startups. But with the Professional plans, each plan is good for up to three websites and 75,000 visits per month, 15 GB of storage and 125 GB of monthly bandwidth. These plans allow you to do everything you’d do with a Startup, only more of it.

Growth Plans

You’re probably beginning to notice a pattern: the categories in this next plan level are Managed Hosting, Managed Hosting Plus, Secure Hosting, and eCommerce Hosting. Here are the current prices for each:

  • Managed Hosting: $95/ month
  • Managed Hosting Plus: $104/ month
  • Secure Hosting: $125/ month
  • eCommerce Hosting: $116/ month

These plans allow up to 10 websites, 100,000 monthly visits, 20 GB of storage and 200 GB of monthly bandwidth. They contain everything offered in the Startup and Professional plans but allow you to really take your game to the next level as your business grows and your site experiences more traffic.

Scale Plans

Scale plans are WP Engine’s premium offering, and they fall into the same four categories as the other plan levels. Current prices are listed below:

  • Managed Hosting: $241/ month
  • Managed Hosting Plus: $258/ month
  • Secure Hosting: $291/ month
  • eCommerce Hosting: $291/ month

Scale plans allow you to create up to 30 websites, have 400,000 monthly visits, and provide 50 GB of storage and 500 GB of bandwidth each month. They contain all of the great features included in other plans and are great for large companies with lots of monthly visitors or the need for a lot of associated websites.

Custom Plans

Finally, WP Engine offers Custom plans so you can have your web hosting platform exactly as you want it. For a custom plan, you’ll need to get in touch with a customer representative, who will talk to you about all of the available features as well as your vision for your website. The representative will work closely with you to develop a personalized hosting plan.

For a complete look at each plan and all of the available features, check out this link.

Frequently Asked Questions

So, we’ve spent quite a bit of time discussing WP Engine in terms of its pros and cons, as well as the various plans and prices offered. But you may still have questions. Keep reading to find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions in regards to WP Engine.

How Does WP Engine Compare To Other Hosting?

We’ve actually done a WP Engine vs BlueHost comparison here, and WP Engine won in terms of performance.

Its top competitors are probably Kinsta and WPX, which we’ve compared here.

What is Managed WordPress Hosting?

Managed WordPress hosting is a type of premium hosting service that allows you to build and maintain your WordPress site without having to worry about the high-tech side of things. A managed hosting service such as WP Engine will take care of things like security, site speed, and overall performance so you can spend more time promoting your business.

Does WP Engine Come with a Site Builder?

WP Engine doesn’t offer a website building tool, but their User Portal is pretty easy to use so you can build your website how you like it. Plus, with access to lots of classy themes and built-in templates, it doesn’t take a lot of tech knowledge to get a beautiful, professional site up and running quickly.

If you’re not sure how to start or are technologically challenged, it might help to check out a tutorial video that will walk you through the steps of creating your site:

What if I Experience Greater Traffic than My Plan Allows?

Spikes in monthly visitors may happen from time to time. If you experience this, you will receive an overcharge fee from WP Engine.

If the occasional spike in traffic becomes an every month occurrence, you will probably want to upgrade to a higher plan level. WP Engine makes it easy to change from one plan to another, and a company representative will be right there with you if you need help throughout the process.

WP Engine Review Conclusion – Is WP Engine Worth the Cost?

As you can see, WP Engine offers tons of useful and specialized features at a fairly hefty price tag. So is it worth the money?

Ultimately, that depends on how much you need a solid, professional, and managed site. If you’re simply looking to create a personal blog or you have no need of increasing your profits with an online presence, then WP Engine probably isn’t for you.

But if you’re an entrepreneur, business owner, web developer, or eCommerce seller, then yes. WP Engine is one of the best managed hosting platforms on the web, and your business will greatly benefit from having a WP Engine hosted site.

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