WP Engine – is it any good and is it worth the money?

In Blog, General Purpose by Lucy DohertyLeave a Comment

What is WP Engine?

WP Engine is a premium, “VIP” managed WordPress hosting service. WP Engine positions itself as a more ‘high-end’ hosting option. With packages starting at $35 per month, is WP Engine worth the money? ‘Cos when you dig into it and compare its services with other hosting providers, the price and the customer service are the only real differentiators. We’ve been using WP Engine for some time now for client websites but have been wondering lately if it’s really worth the price tag.

WP Engine is a managed hosting service designed specifically for WordPress. WP Engine do make setting up your account very easy; WordPress comes pre-installed when you open your account, which reduces the set up time on your part. And if you’re migrating a site from an old hosting provider, there is a WP Engine migration plug in, which makes it simple to move your site across. However, they don’t offer email hosting, domain names or access to SQL databases.

They are quite particular about plugins and there is a list of disallowed plugins that have a negative impact on site or server performance. This includes caching plugins, which clash with some of the built-in WP Engine functionalities. Daily site back ups, WordPress updates and Plug in updates have been automated and there is a staging area where you can play around with your pages without impacting your live site.

But really, what are you getting for your money that you can’t get anywhere else?

On its website, WP Engine really bigs-up the features that you get from hosting your websites with them. But if you really dig down, there’s nothing that really stands out to justify the money they charge. There really is nothing that you can’t get from any other web host.

One of the reasons we switched to WP Engine in the first place was because of their supposed site speed superiority. Our hosting company at the time (TSOHost if you were wondering) had gone down-hill with poor customer support and slow site speeds. So we switched and moved around 15 client sites over. And for a while there, we were happy.

Recently we did an in-depth web hosting experiment where we measured, monitored and compared several of the biggest web hosting companies based on factors like site speed. So we were comparing WP Engine against shared hosting packages from companies like SiteGround and A1 Hosting. And despite their claims of superior site speeds, WP Engine came out mid-table with decidedly mediocre results.

WP Engine Tech Support is Outstanding

One thing that WP Engine does have going in its favour is the outstanding technical and customer support. They really do hold your hand through any technical issues you might be having, even if they are outside of their remit. They have helped with WordPress general enquiries as well as hosting specific problems. We found that with companies like TSOHost, we were often met with a “this is outside of our scope” response. But is that alone worth the price tag?

So is WP Engine worth it?

Sorry WP Engine, but no. There is nothing cutting edge, extra or different from what you can get with other, cheaper hosts. You get the same technology but at a premium price. Perhaps they have just been clever in packaging and marketing their services. But frankly you can get faster hosting and good customer service at a fraction of the price elsewhere.

Check out the full WP Eagle web hosting experiment here. You might be surprised with the results.

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