There are plenty of cheap hosts available that provide a decent service. However, what if you’re looking for more of a performance-oriented, concierge service? In that case, you’ll want to check out our WP Engine review for WordPress.
WP Engine is a WordPress-specific web host, offering managed plans that are fully optimized for the platform. Of course, when compared to many other WordPress hosts, WP Engine’s plans aren’t exactly cheap. Therefore, you’ll want to know whether this hosting service is worth the cost before making a purchase.
WP Engine review for WordPress – specific features
Its service offers quite a few WordPress-specific features, including:
- Quick and easy migrations from your old host.
- A free Secure Socket Layers (SSL) certificate, which is an important security measure.
- Support for setting up staging sites.
- Plenty of performance tracking and diagnostic options.
WP Engine plans come with plenty of support included. You’ll get 24/7 access to dedicated help, whether that’s via phone, email, or live chat. Support options are easy to access right from your user portal, once you’ve signed up.
We took a test drive of the live chat to get a feel for the support staff:
Agents were quick to respond, helpful, and seemed knowledgeable about the platform. They were able to answer our questions without any trouble. For even more assistance and information, there’s also a resource center and a comprehensive knowledge base with lots of well-written documentation and tutorials.
Features and support are important, but performance is what makes or breaks a web host. Fortunately, WP Engine offers plenty of performance-enhancing features, such as:
- A free Content Delivery Network (CDN) service, included on all plans.
- A Page Performance solution that tests your site and helps you make improvements.
- An add-on called GeoTarget that optimizes your site for specific regions.
What’s more, WP Engine offers a lot of server locations. We won’t list them all out (there are 19), but they include data centers in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
All of this should translate to excellent real-world performance. Let’s see if that’s the case!
Page speed tests with Pingdom
For the next phase of our WP Engine Review for WordPress, we set up a basic site and tested its loading speeds using Pingdom Tools from various locations around the world. Here are our results:
- New York: 1.61 seconds
- Melbourne: 1.67 seconds
- San Jose: 0.39 seconds
- Stockholm: 1.60 seconds
These are remarkably consistent times (with the exception of San Jose, which is the clear stand-out). 1.6 seconds isn’t particularly impressive, but it’s a decent speed that remains below the all-important two-second mark.
Page speed tests with Load Impact
It’s always smart to test performance using multiple tools. So we also used Load Impact to simulate the effects of multiple simultaneous users on our WP Engine site. Here’s what we got:
- Load Generator: Ashburn, USA
- Test Server: Ann Arbor, USA
- Minimum Response Time: 0.51 seconds
- Maximum Response Time: 0.59 seconds
Basically, this chart shows that as the number of visitors increases (blue line), our test site’s page load times remained consistent (green line). That’s a good thing because it means your site will load just quickly for the 1st visitor as it will for the 50th person visiting at the same time.
While WP Engine only offers one type of service – its managed WordPress hosting – it also provides a number of tiered plans to choose from. These plans differ dramatically in how many resources they offer and the number of sites they cater for, which means you’re getting a very scalable service.
Let’s run through each of the WP Engine plans quickly:
- Startup ($35 per month): With this entry-level tier, you get support for up to 25,000 visits per month, one website, 10GB of storage, and 50GB of bandwidth. You’ll also get an SSL certificate, access to a global CDN, and a few other key features.
- Growth ($115 per month): This plan increases your traffic support to 100,000 and provides you with five sites. In addition to more resources, you get access to 24/7 phone support and can import your own SSL certificates.
- Scale ($290 per month): This tier is largely identical to the last. It simply provides even more resources, bumps your site count up to 15, and supports up to 400,000 visits per month.
- Premium and Enterprise: These are custom plans, so pricing will vary. They provide lots of additional resources and support, and move your hosting up from a shared setup to dedicated servers.
These plans aren’t cheap, but they do provide plenty of features and lots of room for your site to grow. If you’re looking to build one or more serious business or e-commerce sites, this service is worth a look.
Overall pros and cons
For the final step in our WP Engine review for WordPress, let’s sum up the key pros and cons of this hosting provider.
- Well-optimized for WordPress users.
- Simplifies the process of managing your website.
- Provides solid, consistent performance.
- Offers plenty of dedicated and expert support.
- Won’t fit into everyone’s budget.
- Only offers managed hosting on shared servers (or dedicated servers on the custom plans).
Alternatives to WP Engine hosting
WP Engine is a solid hosting choice if you have a decent budget. However, it’s fairly expensive (especially on the higher tiers).
If you like WP Engine in theory, but it just isn’t in your price range, there are some alternatives you can check out. SiteGround is a great WordPress-specific provider, for example, and DreamHost offers managed hosting that’s pretty affordable. For more information, you can take a look at our full article on alternatives to WP Engine.
WP Engine plans don’t come cheap – there’s no sugar-coating that fact. However, you’ll get a quality managed hosting service in exchange for your investment. This provider offers lots of vital WordPress-specific features, solid performance, and reliable support. If WP Engine does fit your budget, it’s worth serious consideration.
If not, we mentioned a few alternatives above. For even more hosting options, you can check out some of our previous reviews:
- A2 Hosting Review for WordPress: Fastest Hosting You’ve Heard Of?
- HostGator WordPress Hosting Review: A Surprise Turnaround
- InMotion Review for WordPress Hosting: A Dark Horse Among the Pack?