Whether you’re looking to start a website or take your current website to a much more professional level, WordPress is the way to go.
But to host a secure and high-performance WordPress website, you need a reliable WordPress web hosting service.
This is where WP Engine comes in.
In this detailed WP Engine review, we’ll show you why it is among the leading managed WordPress hosting companies and help you decide if it is the right choice for your hosting needs.
Let’s dive in.
What Is WP Engine?
WP Engine is a leading managed WordPress web hosting service with nearly 200K worldwide customers and 1.5 million active websites. It is a high-performance web hosting service for small businesses, agencies, and companies looking for experts to manage their high-traffic WordPress websites.
WP Engine started operations in 2010 when WordPress was gaining popularity as the best CMS for small business websites. Since then, it has become the leading managed WordPress web hosting service because of its impenetrable website security and a team of competent and experienced WordPress professionals ready to handle any technical website issues.
Here’s a quick look at what WP Engine offers:
- Fully managed WordPress web hosting
- A team of technical WordPress and server management experts
- Managed automatic updates
- Customizable premium WordPress themes
- Lightening server speed
- 99.99% server uptime
- Advanced server security
- One-click WordPress installation
- One-click staging
- Daily & on-demand backups
- 24/7 chat and phone support
- Free SSL and SSH
- Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- 60-day money-back guarantee
In short, with WP Engine, you can focus on your core business operations without worrying about website updates, performance, security, and general back end management.
Quick Verdict | Is WP Engine The Best Managed WordPress Hosting Service?
Don’t have the time to read the full review? Here’s our quick verdict on WP Engine.
If you care about website security, want lightning load times for your site, and have the budget to afford a premium web hosting service, WP Engine is an excellent option for hosting your WordPress website. In fact, it is what we use for Learning Revolution.
But if you’re on a tight budget, you might want to look elsewhere.
For other web hosting options, check out 11 Best Web Hosting Services for Creators and Experts.
The Difference Between Managed And Shared WordPress Web Hosting
WP Engine is a fully managed WordPress web hosting service drastically different from shared web hosting services.
Don’t know the difference between managed and shared web hosting? Let me highlight the most important ones.
A shared web hosting service hosts multiple websites on the same server. In other words, you share server resources with other websites in a shared web hosting plan.
In comparison, a managed WordPress hosting service dedicates server resources for your website and does not share them with other client websites.
In most shared web hosting service plans, you must manage the website’s back end admin tasks. This includes WordPress version management, plugins and updates, themes, logs, errors, and other maintenance issues.
In managed WordPress hosting, you don’t need to worry about the technical back end stuff. A team of technical WordPress experts handles everything from WordPress installation, version management, plugin updates, and the general health management of your site.
Dedicated and managed web hosting services are much more secure than shared hosting. For example, in a shared server, there’s a chance you might suffer a security breach because other sites share resources with you. But in a managed setup, securing the servers is much easier since you’re the only one using them.
In a shared web hosting service, multiple sites use your service provider’s bandwidth and server resources. As a result, your site’s performance may suffer because other sites use up those resources. But a managed service dedicates specific resources for your website, ensuring optimal performance and consistent speeds.
So, now that you know how WP Engine fundamentally differs from regular shared hosting companies, let’s dive deeper into its core features.
WP Engine Managed WordPress Hosting Features
WP Engine is packed with world-class web hosting features that enhance your website’s user experience and allow you to focus on growing your business instead of worrying about day-to-day website management issues.
Here are some of its main features.
WP Engine is a fully managed WordPress web hosting service that takes care of all your routine technical back end management tasks. It has an army of WordPress and server management experts who specialize in optimizing website experience and ensuring top-class performance.
Think of WP Engine as a full-time resource looking after everything related to your website’s health and technical back end support.
For example, WP Engine handles your site’s WordPress installation and version updates. Similarly, it closely monitors your site’s plugins for any issues and ensures they’re up to date.
With WP Engine, you get managed automatic updates which means a technical expert manually reviews WordPress, PHP versions, and plugin updates before executing them. This is critical because sometimes, a new update might modify your site’s design or user experience. Similarly, it might carry bugs or any other issues that hurt website performance. With manual reviews before updates, WP Engine protects you from all such issues.
Managed WordPress hosting also includes complete management of your site’s security, performance, uptime, and all other technical aspects (we’ll discuss them separately.)
Speed And Performance
Your website’s load speed is critical for user experience and SEO. According to research, websites that load within 2 seconds have a bounce rate of 9%. But websites with load times between 3-5 seconds have bounce rates of 38.9% which is a drastic increase.
Similarly, your site’s load speed directly impacts your search rankings since speed is a core SEO ranking factor. So, if two sites are equally well-optimized, the one that loads faster will rank higher because it is more convenient for the users.
Your server speed is the number one factor that affects page speed. If you host your site on sluggish servers, it will always take ages to load, no matter how well you optimize it.
This is where WP Engine stands out.
As a dedicated WordPress hosting service, it is inherently faster than shared hosting services. But its proprietary EverCache caching technology ensures that its servers provide lightning speeds and that all its hosted websites are fully optimized for the Core Web Vitals.
In addition, WP Engine comes with premium CDN support which further improves your site’s performance and optimizes its Time To First Byte (TTFB), the main factor behind your site’s speed.
This is why 31.8% of the millions of sites hosted on WP Engine load under 200 ms, the highest percentage among all the top dedicated WordPress hosting services.
We found hundreds of websites hosted on WP Engine using Built With and tested them using Google’s Page Speed Test. Most sites passed the Core Web Vitals test and had initial load times faster than 200 ms.
Here’s an example result of one of the sites.
So, if you want to enhance website load times and performance, look no further than WP Engine.
Uptime And Reliability
Nothing’s more damaging to your brand image when a prospect visits your site only to find that your servers are down. With WP Engine, you’ll rarely face this problem because it guarantees 99.99% uptime throughout the year.
When I checked WP Engine’s average uptime over the last few months, they seem to be overdelivering on their promise.
You’d expect optimal server uptimes from WP Engine because it’s a dedicated web hosting service where your site doesn’t share server resources with any other clients.
However, downtimes are still possible because of technical glitches, server malfunctioning, or any other issues.
But to ensure you don’t hear about your site’s downtime from a client, WP Engine has a server monitoring mechanism to keep an eye on your site 24/7.
If your site goes down for any reason, WP Engine automatically sends you email and SMS alerts to inform you of the downtime. In addition, it provides details of the issues causing the downtime along with estimated recovery times (which aren’t usually longer than a few minutes at max.)
Apart from server uptimes, WP Engine also ensures that your site’s servers are reliable and offer consistent performance. It does that by monitoring server response times and instantly addressing performance issues while keeping you in the loop.
In short, with WP Engine, you can be sure about your site’s performance and availability.
An estimated 30,000 websites are hacked or compromised every day. If you don’t want your site to be one of them, you must host it on secure servers because poor server protection is the biggest reason for website security lapses.
This is where WP Engine stands out in the web hosting industry.
As a dedicated and managed web hosting company, WP Engine is already more secure than shared services. But it comes with various security features that make your site almost impenetrable.
For example, you get free SSL and SSH with your WP Engine account. SSL is an encryption-based security protocol that keeps your site’s data secure and away from unauthorized access. SSH, on the other hand, is a network protocol that gives your system admins and developers secure access to your site across networks. Both are critical for server security.
WP Engine also has a proactive threat detection mechanism that protects your site against any prevalent security threats and keeps your PHP versions updated to prevent any breaches.
For added security, all WP Engine login sections are guarded with multi-factor authentication. This includes server logins and your website’s admin logins.
Other security features like activity logs, user permissions, SOC2 Type II report, CDN integration, and 24/7 server monitoring ensure that your site is safe from all online security threats.
Irrespective of your site’s security standards, you should always maintain multiple data backups for any unforeseen circumstances.
WP Engine offers automatic daily backups as a part of your standard subscription plan. It maintains different backup versions of your site that you can access and restore at any time.
WP Engine backups exist for all environments by default (Production, Staging, and Development). It creates checkpoints to automatically back up your data before any major activity. To ensure backup security, they’re stored offsite on Amazon S3 and are encrypted in transit and at rest.
In addition, you can trigger on-demand backups before any major website update or maintenance activity to ensure there’s no loss of data in case something goes wrong.
WP Engine stores backups for the last 60 days. You can restore a backup version by choosing it from the list of backups and clicking the restore button in the Backup points section.
Imagine your website going down just before a major marketing event like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Christmas sale. You’ll need immediate support from your web hosting company, right?
But what if they’re not around to help you?
This happens regularly with customers of low-quality web hosting companies.
But not with WP Engine clients because it offers 24/7 chat and phone support along with dedicated managers for higher-tier clients.
WP Engine’s support is top-notch because it is handled by real WordPress experts, not some interns in an outsourced agency.
This makes the customer support experience more valuable and result oriented. You can confidently reach out to WP Engine support teams, knowing they’re experts who’ve handled thousands of complex website management and server performance issues.
So, no matter what problem you face, WP Engine’s support team is there to solve it for you.
WP Engine Pricing Plans & Money Back Guarantee
Let’s talk about WP Engine’s pricing because, with such a high-quality web hosting experience, you’d expect their service to be quite expensive.
But is it? Let’s find out.
WP Engine offers five managed WordPress hosting subscription plans for websites with different traffic and support needs. All plans come with a 60-day money-back guarantee, no questions asked.
Plus, you get 10 premium WP Engine WordPress themes with these plans to help you quickly set up professional-looking websites with a responsive and engaging design.
Startup – $24/month
The Startup plan offers up to 10GB of web storage, 50GB of bandwidth, and 25,000 visitors per month for one website. It is designed for small businesses, agencies, and beginner bloggers looking for affordable managed WordPress web hosting.
It comes with WP Engine’s standard security, performance, and support features and provides you with everything you need to establish a high-performance website.
Professional – $47/month
The Professional plan offers up to 15GB storage, 125GB bandwidth, and 75000 visitors per month across three websites. It is designed for websites with a growing audience and increasing resource needs and offers the best value for money, in my opinion.
It also includes multiple add-ons for increased security, geo-targeting, and website management.
Growth – $92/month
The Growth plan offers up to 20GB storage, 200GB bandwidth, and 100,000 visitors per month across ten websites. It is ideal for established content creators, agencies, and website owners looking for optimal performance across a wide portfolio of websites.
Scale – $232/month
The Scale plan offers up to 50GB storage, 500GB bandwidth, and 400,000 visitors per month across thirty websites. It is built for high-traffic websites and agencies managing multiple client projects. With the Scale plan, you get the full range of WP Engine features at their peak performance.
While all WP Engine plans are suitable for their respective target customers, I personally find the Professional plan to be the best value for money for most beginner to mid-tier sites.
If you notice, all these plans are more expensive than what the mainstream shared hosting companies offer. In addition, most shared plans offer unlimited bandwidth, storage, and traffic.
How is this a better deal than a shared hosting service?
I’ve already described the key differences between shared and dedicated hosting in this article. The unlimited traffic and bandwidth you get with shared hosting plans come with conditions. They’re fine for small and low-traffic websites, but when your traffic crosses 10K-15K visitors per month, you’ll start experiencing server outages and downtimes.
Plus, you don’t get any of the perks and advanced features of dedicated hosting that I’ve discussed in this article.
In comparison, the bandwidth and storage you get with a managed and dedicated web hosting service are all yours. You don’t share it with anyone, which results in peak performance and almost no downtimes.
So, if you consider the business value a dedicated hosting offers, the rates won’t seem as high to you.
WP Engine Pros And Cons
Before winding up this review, let’s discuss the main strengths and weaknesses of WP Engine’s managed WordPress hosting plans.
WP Engine Strengths
– Optimized For WordPress
WP Engine is specifically designed and optimized to host high-traffic WordPress websites. The team behind WP Engine understands the strengths and weaknesses of WordPress, allowing them to create an optimized web hosting experience for their clients. They proactively tackle the issues WordPress users face and ensure your site performs at optimal levels.
– Easy To Use Control Panel
WP Engine’s user admin area is designed to simplify complex options and features and help you fully utilize your hosting account. All its features and options are neatly listed in an intuitive dashboard where you can switch between sections and configure your account options without any technical assistance.
– Handles The Technical Stuff
WP Engine is run by a team of WordPress experts who specialize in handling technical WordPress issues. So, when your website faces any problems, you can simply create a support request and let the experts solve your problem instead of getting your hands dirty.
– Offers Peak Website Performance
WP Engine is designed for peak server performance and security. It has dedicated all its resources to ensure your website runs smoothly and securely without any downtimes. So, by hosting with WP Engine, you can be sure that your site won’t lose traffic because of slow load times.
– Offers Technical Consultation
Apart from handling your site’s technical issues, WP Engine also offers technical consultation with its team members. You can consult a WP Engine expert before making any significant website change to understand its impact on performance. This not only helps you plan better but also allows you to determine if you should go ahead with a change in the first place.
WP Engine Weaknesses
– Doesn’t Offer Email Hosting
Despite all its advantages, WP Engine surprisingly doesn’t offer email hosting. This means you can use your WP Engine account to send and receive emails or manage an email inbox. So, you’ll have to use a third-party email service for your routine email communication. This is a big turn off since you expect a well-reputed hosting company to offer email hosting with your website hosting plans.
– Pricey For Small Websites
WP Engine isn’t the best option for beginner bloggers with small budgets. It offers exceptional service but charges significantly more than any other shared or dedicated hosting service. So, if you have budget limitations, but want dedicated and managed WordPress hosting, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
– Imposes WordPress Plugin Restrictions
WP Engine has a long list of prohibited WordPress plugins that you cannot install to your website as their customer. These plugins include website performance optimization, caching, and content management plugins. According to WP Engine, they’ve determined that these plugins either clash with their security systems or drain extensive server resources.
Final Verdict | Is WP Engine The Best Managed WordPress Hosting Service?
There’s a lot to like about WP Engine, as it offers excellent WordPress web hosting services and ensures that your website delivers peak performance in a secure environment.
But it is more expensive than many other services, so it isn’t ideal for businesses and website owners with limited budgets. (Learn more about some of my other top picks for web hosting platforms here.)
However, if you have the required budget and website security and performance are your priority, WP Engine is certainly a strong candidate for the best-managed WordPress hosting services.
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