WP Engine Web Hosting Review

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Finding the best web hosting provider for your website can challenging. With so many options to choose from, sometimes it can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack.

But if you’re an experienced WordPress user, then it will be much easier for you to narrow down your choices. WP Engine should definitely be on your shortlist of web hosting options to consider.

In fact, WP Engine ranks high on my list of the best web hosting for WordPress. This is the hosting provider that we use here at Quick Sprout, and we’re very happy with it.

WP Engine offers managed hosting for WordPress. So if this sounds like the type of hosting solution that you’re looking for, you can use this guide to help you make a decision.

I’ve reviewed all of the different WP Engine plan options. I’ll also explain why WP Engine stands out as a top web host, and cover any potential drawbacks as well.

WP Engine Web Hosting Plans

WP Engine hosting plans

WP Engine has four hosting plans for you to consider:

  • Startup
  • Growth
  • Scale
  • Custom

All plans come with more than 35 StudioPress themes, 24/7 chat support, free site transfers, an SSL certificate, and a global CDN. Below you’ll find an in-depth review of each plan that includes the price, features, and benefits.

Startup

The Startup hosting plan is ideal for a blog or a smaller website. It comes with all of the basic hosting features that you should need to accommodate up to 25,000 visits per month.

The Startup rate is $35 per month. But if you prepay and sign up for an annual contract, you’ll get two months for free.

Your website will have 10 GB of local storage and 50 GB of bandwidth per month. This is pretty good if you compare it to other entry-level hosting plans on the market.

It’s a basic plan with straightforward pricing, but WP Engine gives you the option to add-on some extra features during the checkout process.

WP Engine Extras

While they may sound appealing, you can skip these. I really can’t justify the additional costs for an entry-level plan. A small personal blog with under 25,000 visitors won’t need these extras to run smoothly.

If you’re going to spring for anything, the enhanced site security would be my only recommendation.

Growth

There is a significant jump in price from the Starter plan to the Growth plan. But you’ll benefit from plenty of extra resources as well.

The Growth plan starts at $115 per month.

It includes hosting for 5 WordPress sites, 100,000 monthly visits, 20 GB of storage, and 200 GB of bandwidth per month. These features make the Growth plan an appealing option for growing businesses.

Another big difference between the Startup and Growth plan is the level of customer support. With Startup, you’re limited  24/7 live chat support (although that’s still good for an entry-level hosting plan).

But Growth also comes with 24/7 phone support. So this is a huge bonus for those of you who would rather get on the phone and talk to an agent as opposed to chatting online.

Even if you’re only expecting 40,000 or 50,000 monthly visitors, you’ll need to upgrade to the Growth plan. WP Engine charges overages for exceeding monthly traffic limits, but we’ll talk about that in greater detail later on.

Scale

As the name implies, the Scale plan is made for websites that have scaled beyond the limits of other plans.

For $290 per month, your plan can accommodate 400,000 visitors per month. You’ll also get 30 GB of storage, 400 GB of bandwidth, and hosting for 15 websites.

Those are enough resources to keep your site running smoothly even with increased visitors and traffic surges.

The features included with the Scale plan are actually pretty comparable to the Growth plan. So the major difference is really just the ability to accommodate more traffic and the extra resources to support it as well.

This plan is best for large websites and WordPress users that want to host multiple sites on one plan.

Custom

WP Engine offers custom plans for enterprise-level websites. With up to 1 TB of local storage and 400+ GB of bandwidth per month, the custom plans can accommodate millions of monthly visits to your site.

Here’s a side by side comparison of the plans to put this into perspective for you.

WP Engine Plan Pricing

As you can imagine, only a small percentage of websites would be interested in the custom plan.

For a higher price point, the plan comes with some free extras that are normally paid add-ons for the other plans. These extras include WordPress multisite, GeoTarget, and content performance.

To get rates for the custom pricing solutions, you’ll need to get in touch with a WP Engine sales specialist. They’ll work out the details with you to figure out how much resources your website needs.

Benefits of Using WP Engine For Web Hosting

Using WP Engine as your hosting provider definitely has its fair share of perks. I’ve identified and explained the top benefits of signing up for one of their hosting plans below.

Risk-free trial

It’s no secret that WP Engine is a bit pricey compared to the competition. To get the best possible rate, you need to commit to an annual contract. Some of you might be hesitant to commit for so long at a high rate.

Fortunately, WP Engine has a 60-day risk free period for their hosting plans. If you’re not happy with the service, you can opt-out and get refunded.

60 days is double the standard guarantee for most hosting providers in the industry.

Furthermore, the fact that WP Engine offers this is a testament to how they feel about their services. They wouldn’t offer it if they didn’t think you’d be satisfied. This offer is enough of a reason to try them out if you’re on the fence about an annual commitment.

Transparent pricing

Although on the high-end, I love the fact that WP Engine’s pricing is straightforward and transparent. That can’t be said for the majority of web hosting providers in the industry.

It’s pretty common for hosting providers to advertise really low rates but only apply them to 36 or 48 month contracts that are prepaid in-full. Then when those contracts expire, the renewal rates will double, triple, or even quadruple.

WP Engine doesn’t do that.

WP Engine Price

The monthly contracts remain the same price even after your first contract is up. You can get two months free if you prepay for a year, but they’ll never force you to commit longer than that.

Outstanding service

As a managed WordPress hosting provider, WP Engine really stands out amongst the competition in terms of its service. This is where the higher costs of these plans can be justified.

You won’t have to do anything aside from running your website. The team over at WP Engine will maintain everything at the server level, including the security.

WP Engine has hundreds of employees on their support team as well as on their outreach and development team. Other providers with less than 30 employees just can’t match that level of technical support.

You’ll never have to worry about updates, security, your tech stack, or server optimizations. All of this is handled for you.

The 24/7 live chat with every plan is a huge bonus as well. 24/7 phone support also comes free with every plan except for the Startup option.

As a WP Engine customer, I’ve been impressed with the quick and informed responses whenever I’ve reached out to the support team.

Strong performance

No matter how impressive the features and bonuses are, a web hosting provider is useless if the performance of your website is lacking. This is definitely not an area where WP Engine falls short.

Each plan has more than enough resources to accommodate the appropriate website sizes and volumes of traffic. This translates to high uptime rates and blazing fast loading speed.

Since their hosting solutions are built for WordPress, everything is optimized for peak performance. Other hosting providers with cookie-cutter hosting for any CMS just can’t deliver as well in this area.

Security

WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS. This means that WordPress sites are vulnerable to attacks. In fact, as of 2019, 90% of all hacked sites run on WordPress. That number is up from 83% in 2018.

But WP Engine goes the extra mile to protect your site at every level. They block more than 150 million attacks per day.

One of the reasons why WordPress sites get hacked is because their software isn’t up to date. You won’t have to worry about maintaining these updates manually. WP Engine will handle it for you to ensure that old software isn’t making your site a target to malware.

Developer friendly

WP Engine has tools and resources that make it easy for developers to host a website. They provide easy and automated on-click setups for faster deployment.

You’ll also benefit from an integrated DevKit for the WordPress framework. This translates to smoother launches and fluid maintenance.

  • SSH gateway access
  • Genesis Framework
  • Dynamic content blocks that are reusable
  • 35+ premium themes for WordPress
  • Third-party tools for builds and debugging
  • Push and pull deployments

These are just a handful of the developer-specific benefits provided by WP Engine.

Other Considerations

WP Engine isn’t perfect. So before you sign up for one of the hosting plans that we’ve discussed above, there are a few drawbacks and other considerations that you should keep in mind.

Not for beginners

I do not recommend WP Engine if you’re new to web hosting or WordPress. If this is the first website that you’re launching from scratch, you should look elsewhere.

For the price, you can do better with another provider. But WP Engine definitely isn’t trying to appeal to everyone with their pricing structure.

This web host is made for pros and experienced webmasters. The developer-friendly tools and benefits are worth it if you know what you’re doing and how to use them.

Businesses that are established and running on WordPress already should consider switching to WP Engine if they aren’t satisfied with their current hosting plans.

High entry-level pricing

As I’ve mentioned a few times already throughout this review, WP Engine has high prices compared to the competition.

Starting at $35 per month, the entry-level plans are ten times higher than some of the alternative hosting options out there. So if this is out of your price range, you can check out my guide on the best cheap web hosting to find another provider.

With that said, it’s worth mentioning again that WP Engine doesn’t spike their rates when your contract renews. If you’re comparing entry-level plans, the rate may not seem significantly higher when you factor in the renewal costs and hidden fees charged by other hosts.

However, once you get beyond the Starter plan, the price points aren’t even in the same ballpark as other shared web hosting options. WP Engine is expensive.

WordPress specific

This should be pretty clear, but I had to mention it to ensure there wasn’t any confusion.

If you’re not using WordPress, you can’t consider using WP Engine as a hosting provider. This alienates anyone who is using another CMS to run their website.

Overage fees

Overage Fees

I briefly mentioned this earlier, but I want to talk about it in greater detail. The WP Engine plans have traffic limits.

Normally, a web hosting provider will tell you roughly how much traffic your plan can accommodate. If you go over that number, it will impact the performance of your website.

But WP Engine has a different approach. Rather than throttling down your website resources to hurt your performance, they simply charge you extra for exceeding your limits. Depending on your plan, you’ll pay an extra $1 to $2 per every 1,000 monthly site visits over your limit.

This can be costly, considering the drastic jumps of traffic limits between plans.

For example, let’s say you’re on the Growth plan, paying $115 per month for up to 100,000 monthly visits. As your business grows, you may start getting 200,000 visits per month, which would cost you an additional $200 per month. At that point, it would be more cost-effective to upgrade your plan, even though you still aren’t coming close to the 400,000 limit on the next tier.

The structure of these overage fees could force you to upgrade to a higher plan from the beginning in order to avoid these extra charges.

Conclusion

WP Engine is arguably the best managed WordPress hosting provider on the market today. Although it’s not for everyone.

I only recommend WP Engine to advanced WordPress users and pros. The high entry-level pricing isn’t worth it for new or small websites.

I’d only consider using WP Engine if you were ready to sign up for the Growth or Scale plans. The Startup plan is likely too basic to accommodate your needs.

In terms of service, it’s tough to find other providers out there that match the level of excellence set by WP Engine. As a satisfied WP Engine customer, I’m happy to recommend this web host to you as well.

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