WP Engine Web Hosting Review
Unlimited monthly data transfers. Daily backups. Malware scanning. Useful Staging Area.
Limited storage. Small traffic allotment. Lacks email. Doesn’t sell domain names. No Web chat support. Expensive.
- Bottom Line
WP Engine is a managed WordPress Web host that offers the basics but nothing more, and it’s fairly pricey for what you get.
WordPress is the backbone that supports millions of websites, so it’s not surprising that dozens of Web service providers have emerged that focus squarely on hosting one of the world’s most popular content management systems—WP Engine is one of them. Unfortunately, WP Engine (starting at $29 per month) isn’t a beacon of managed WordPress Web hosting excellence. That’s not to say that it’s a dud: WP Engine offers attractive, basic features like unlimited monthly data transfers, automatic daily backups, automatic plug-in updates, and malware scanning. But it’s simply outclassed by InMotion Hosting, the PCMag Editors’ Choice for managed WordPress hosting.
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WP Engine Plans and Money-Back Guarantee
WP Engine offers four managed WordPress hosting plans. The most-basic plan, Personal (starting at relatively pricey $29 per month), supports one WordPress installation, 25,000 monthly visitors, and a scant 10GB of storage; this is the plan I used to test the service. Professional (starting at $99 per month) offers 10 WordPress installations, 100,000 visitors, and 20GB of storage. Business (starting at $249 per month) has 25 WordPress installations, 400,000 visits, and 30GB of storage. InMotion, on the other hand, has no such cap on visitors or storage and has a $7.99 per month starting price. WP Engine also offers a customizable Enterprise plan—you must call for details and pricing.A speed-enhancing content delivery network (CDN) is included with the Professional, Business, and Enterprise plans, but not with the basic Personal plan. If you’d like to add a CDN to the Personal package, you’ll need to pay an additional $19.95. Rivals Pagely and Pressable offer CDNs at every managed hosting level.
All plans come with unlimited monthly data transfers, which is a nice touch and more than the 50GB of data that the competing Pagely offers. In addition, WP Engine offers a generous 60-day money-back guarantee.
The WP Engine Experience
Like Pressable, WP Engine is a managed hosting environment specifically designed for WordPress installations and plug-ins. In fact, you don’t need to install WordPress as you do with most other Web hosts; the content management system comes preinstalled. It was nice to open my introductory email, view my log-in credentials, and then get started without any additional setup.In terms of creating content, WP Engine functions as any other self-hosted WordPress installation. It’s a breeze to create posts, pages, and galleries.
WP Engine is compatible with a wide range of plug-ins. That said, the company maintains a small list of plug-ins that it doesn’t support, due to their negative performance impact or duplication of built-in WP Engine features.
Unlike InMotion, WP Engine doesn’t offer traditional Web hosting, so you can’t upload your Linux- or Windows-based non-WordPress site and related apps. The upside is that WP Engine automates many functions, including daily site backups and plug-in updates. It also features proprietary Evercache technology that combines caching and proxy servers to make pages quickly load. The Staging Area is pretty cool, too. It takes a snapshot of your website so you can tinker with pages without affecting the real site.
WP Engine is not without its faults. It doesn’t sell domains (your URL is in the format of http://name.wpengine.com) or come with email accounts; you need to sign up with a third-party company like GoDaddy for those features.
WP Engine safeguards your site with daily malware scans and a firewall that’s updated daily to block the latest threats. The Web host states that if your site gets hacked, it’ll repair the damage free of charge.
I contacted WP Engine several times during testing—early morning, midday, and at night—to get a sense of its support team’s effectiveness. I called to discover how to install new themes and then used the Web chat to contact a represenative who would explain CDNs. Both questions, and a few miscellaneous others, were answered accurately and quickly. I experienced negligible wait times.
Unfortunately, toll-free telephone support is only available during limited hours: Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST. WP Engine compensates with 24/7 email and ticketing support, so you aren’t totally left out in the cold if you can’t call within those hours.
Decent, but There Are Better Options
WP Engine offers a basic level of managed WordPress functionality, but the visitor and data caps, as well as the lack of email and domains, knock it down a few notches. For a full-featured managed WordPress hosting experience, check out InMotion, the PCMag Editors’ Choice.