cheaper WP Engine alternatives

WP Engine is a fantastic choice for WordPress hosting, albeit a pricey one. After a recent price hike, their plans now start at $35 per month. Not everyone can afford to drop that kind of cash on a hosting service, meaning they’re often forced to look elsewhere for cheaper WP Engine alternatives.

The great news is that WordPress hosting is such a competitive field, a cheap price doesn’t necessarily equate to a lower quality service. There are plenty of cheaper WP Engine alternatives available that don’t scrimp on functionality, or the quality of customer support.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at five cheaper WP Engine alternatives, and see how they stack up against one another. If you’re just looking for the results, check out this helpful table:

Cheaper WP Engine Alternatives for WordPress hosting
KinstaSiteGroundHostGatorGoDaddyDreamHost
Starter plans (per month)$30$3.95$5.95$8.99$16.95
Storage3GB10GBUnlim.10GB30GB
Traffic (unique visits per month)20,00010,000100,00025,000Unlim.
# of WordPress sites11111
Includes domainNoNoNoYesNo
Exclusive WordPress supportYesYesYesNoYes

The good (and bad) about WP Engine

A screenshot of WP Engine's Plans section.

Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat – WP Engine is a great WordPress host, and we don’t mean to imply otherwise here. However, their prices remain far out of reach for a lot of users (and the recent price hike in 2018 only makes that worse). In our most recent WordPress hosting survey, we found that WP Engine’s customers spend $184 per month on average for their services – that number alone is enough to make our wallets whimper! It’s also worth noting that a staggering 30% of the surveyed users responded that they would love to move to WP Engine, but are deterred by the high cost.

Furthermore, WP Engine has a reputation for restricting the use of some plugins, which could potentially cause you hassle if your favorite picks are on that list.

That being said, let’s take a quick look at the many things that WP Engine does get right:

  1. Round the clock support from dedicated WordPress experts
  2. Solid security measures to keep your site safe
  3. Optimized servers to decrease loading times
  4. Detailed site performance reports available to customers
  5. Daily site backups

As it stands, WP Engine is a solid choice for managed WordPress hosting – and regardless of the high price, their service will be suitable for a lot of WordPress users.

When to use WP Engine

Use WP Engine if you’re a security-conscious WordPress user who is looking for a robust platform to host professional or business websites. While WP Engine will do just as well for small sites, their service could be a bit overkill – so your budget might serve you better elsewhere.

What are the cheaper WP Engine alternatives?

There are plenty of available hosts that have comparable features to WP Engine, often with cheaper packages to boot. Let’s take a look at the contenders.

1. Kinsta

Kinsta hosting

Kinsta is a popular managed WordPress host that recently slashed their prices. With their new plans, Kinsta starts at just $30 per month, which now makes it a viable entrant on our list of cheaper WP Engine alternatives.

There’s a lot to love about Kinsta, starting with its custom hosting dashboard that makes it easy to take advantage of functionality like automatic updates and easy one-click staging sites.

Beyond the dashboard, Kinsta also focuses on performance optimization. Your site will be hosted on the premium tier of the Google Cloud Platform, which is the same infrastructure that Google uses to power its own products. You also get NGINX, server-level caching, PHP 7.2+, and lots of other performance-oriented technologies. You even get free premium DNS from Amazon Route 53 and a free CDN from KeyCDN.

Finally, Kinsta got excellent marks in our most recent hosting survey. They:

  • Had the best overall rating score at 4.8/5 (WP Engine got a 4.4)
  • Had the highest marks for both general support and WordPress-specific support of any host, at 4.9 each
  • Tied for WP Engine for the highest reliability score at 4.8

Pricing

Starts at $30 per month and ranges up into the hundreds, depending on your needs.

Features

  • Custom hosting dashboard that’s a joy to use.
  • Set up WordPress staging sites with a single click.
  • Automatic daily backups and one-click restores.
  • Uses the premium tier of the Google Cloud Platform.
  • Free SSL certificate, premium DNS, and CDN.

When to use Kinsta

Kinsta is not the cheapest WP Engine alternative, but it is the best-performing, and it still does come in as more affordable than WP Engine’s cheapest plan. It offers the best performance and the most user-friendly hosting dashboard of all these WP Engine alternatives. So if performance and ease of use are high on your list (rather than just low prices), Kinsta is your best bet.

2. SiteGround

A screenshot of SiteGround's homepage.

SiteGround offers great all-around WordPress hosting, and the starter plan is at only $3.95 per month. In other words, you get one of the top cheaper WP Engine alternatives for one-fifth of the price. Furthermore, they offer good site loading speeds (according to our tests) and a knowledgeable support team (said to be “unmatched” according to SiteGround’s client feedback. Those cheap prices come with a caveat, however; you need to pay for your hosting plan yearly if you want to get the best possible deal – otherwise, you get prices that are more in line with its competitors.

As far as WordPress-specific features go, SiteGround delivers. They offer a great mix of features that both WordPress beginners and professionals will appreciate; some of the best are listed below.

Despite offering much lower prices, SiteGround still kept up with WP Engine in our most recent hosting survey:

  • SiteGround had a better overall score at 4.6/5 (remember, WP Engine scored a 4.4)
  • You aren’t losing much reliability, as SiteGround still scored a 4.6 for reliability, which isn’t far behind WP Engine’s 4.8
  • You aren’t sacrificing support either. SiteGround’s overall support score tied WP Engine at 4.7, while their WordPress-specific support wasn’t far behind at 4.5

Pricing

$3.95, $5.95, $11.95 per month.

Features

When to use SiteGround

As far as we’re concerned, SiteGround is a great all-around pick among cheaper WP Engine alternatives for users that value a mix of solid performance, good support, and advanced WordPress-specific features. If you don’t mind paying for your hosting yearly, you won’t find better prices. If, on the other hand, you prefer to pay a monthly bill, you might prefer to look elsewhere.

3. HostGator

HostGator WordPress hosting

HostGator is the proud host of over nine million domains and over 400,000 customers – so they’re rather well known in the hosting world. Much of their popularity is down to their below average pricing, and their basic WordPress Cloud Hosting Starter plan starts at a mere $5.95 per month, which is cheap as far as managed hosting WordPress hosting is concerned.

However, in our survey, HostGator’s scores were decidedly average across the board – which means it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether their cheap packages are worth your consideration.

Pricing

$5.95, $7.95, $9.95 per month.

Features

When to use HostGator

Use HostGator if you’re a beginner WordPress user who could benefit from an easy to use interface, low pricing, and one-to-one tutorials to get you up and running.

4. GoDaddy

A screenshot of GoDaddy's homepage.

GoDaddy is best known as a domain registrar, but they also offer all kinds of hosting services. Their WordPress managed hosting plans are the cheapest all-around, and they don’t scrimp on features. All of their packages include free daily backups, a one-click restore function, a migration tool, automatic WordPress updates, and round the clock support.

All of that sounds pretty good, but what about the cost? GoDaddy’s cheapest managed WordPress hosting package usually costs $8.99 per month, but they often run promotions with heavily discounted prices (you can get your hosting plan for as low as $5 or even $1). However, bear in mind that come renewal time, you’ll revert back to the regular pricing.

Like HostGator, GoDaddy didn’t perform exceptionally well in our survey, though.

Pricing

$8.99, $12.99, $19.99, $24.99 per month.

Features

  • Free daily backups and a simple restore function
  • A 99.9% uptime promise
  • Free migration tool
  • Annual plans come with a free domain
  • Full-time support for WordPress users

When to use GoDaddy

Quite simply, GoDaddy is one of the cheapest WP Engine alternatives available. While they only received an average rating of 3.5 out of five for their service in our survey, their prices are almost unbeatable – and they also provide decent support to their users.

If budget is your primary concern, GoDaddy might just be the platform for you.

5. DreamHost

A screenshot of DreamHost's homepage.

Last but not least, DreamHost is another well-known name offering dedicated WordPress hosting. They’ve been in business since 1996, and boast a high level of customer satisfaction – in our survey, 94% said they would extend their current subscription at renewal time.

DreamHost offers one of the most competitive services when it comes to uptime and loading speeds, and they also provide their customers with knowledgeable support. Their managed WordPress plan is called DreamPress, and it comes with all the bells and whistles you’ve come to expect from a managed hosting service, such as automatic updates and robust security features.

Pricing

$16.95, $24.95, $71.95 per month.

Features

  • A multi-layered caching system to handle traffic spikes and deliver fast speeds
  • WP-CLI comes pre-installed, which enables you to update plugins and configure multisite installs without a web browser
  • One-click SSL certificate
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Round the clock support from knowledgeable staff

When to use DreamHost

If you’re looking for a no-nonsense WordPress hosting provider that takes security and performance seriously, consider DreamHost.

Summing it all up

WP Engine is one of the major front runners in the world of dedicated WordPress hosting, but their service comes with a hefty price tag. Fortunately, it’s still possible for WordPress users to find plenty of cheaper WP Engine alternatives that can compete on service. It’s simply a matter of analyzing the competition, and seeing which host offers the features you need for your website to flourish.

Which host is right for you? Let’s recap:

  1. KinstaFor people who are willing to pay for the best performance and convenience. It’s not that much cheaper than WP Engine, but you can still save a few bucks per month and host your site at the best overall WordPress host (according to our hosting survey).
  2. SiteGroundFor power users and beginners that don’t mind paying for their hosting on a yearly basis. They are also one of the few companies openly recommended by WordPress.org.
  3. HostGator: For beginner WordPress users looking for an easy interface and a thorough knowledge base.
  4. GoDaddy: For those looking for the best possible deal on price.
  5. DreamHost: For users who need a stable host that will enable their sites to scale seamlessly.

In case you missed it, here’s our comparison table again:

Cheaper WP Engine Alternatives for WordPress hosting
KinstaSiteGroundHostGatorGoDaddyDreamHost
Starter plans (per month)$30$3.95$5.95$8.99$16.95
Storage3GB10GBUnlim.10GB30GB
Traffic (unique visits per month)20,00010,000100,00025,000Unlim.
# of WordPress sites11111
Includes domainNoNoNoYesNo
Exclusive WordPress supportYesYesYesNoYes

Which of these cheaper WP Engine alternatives do you think is best? Share your picks with us in the comments section below!

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