WordPress is the backbone that supports millions of websites, so it’s not surprising that many web hosting services focus exclusively on hosting one of the world’s most popular content management systems—WP Engine among them. WP Engine is a high quality host that boasts excellent uptime, WordPress-specific security, daily backups, real-time threat detection, cloud platform flexibility, and other excellent features. Overall, the enterprise-class managed WordPress plans, for which WP Engine is an Editors’ Choice, can get your site up and running in no time, but you’ll need to look elsewhere for domain names and creating email accounts.
WP Engine’s WordPress Plans
The most basic plan, Startup (starting at $35 per month), supports one WordPress installation, 25,000 monthly visitors, 50GB of monthly data transfers, and a scant 10GB of storage. Moving up the ladder is Growth (starting at $115 per month), a tier that offers five WordPress installations, 100,000 visitors, 200GB of monthly data transfers, and 20GB of storage. Building on Growth is Scale (starting at $290 per month), which boasts 15 WordPress installations, 400,000 visits, 400GB of monthly data transfers, and 30GB of storage. Pressable, a rival managed WordPress host, boasts plans with larger specs, but also larger prices.
WP Engine also offers a high-end Custom plan that’s designed for “large businesses and mission-critical sites,” according to the company’s webpage. With Custom, you get millions of visitors of month, 400GB of monthly data transfers, and up to 1TB of storage. You must call a WP Engine sales representative for pricing information, though. It’s definitely not cheap web hosting, as WP Engine positions itself as a high-end managed WordPress host.
All plans come with many excellent features, including a content delivery network (CDN) for faster page load times, staging environments so you can test site changes in a non-public environment, and WP Engine’s own LargeFS software for transferring and storing large amounts of data. Here’s another important feature: you can select Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform as your site’s backbone, enabling no-downtime scalability and tight security. Pressable does not give you this option. Cloudways, on the other hand, lets you select one of five cloud-based infrastructure platforms.
If you run a small business that doesn’t require enterprise-class WordPress hosting, I suggest checking out A2, the category’s co-Editors’ Choice. The Linux-based A2 offers four excellent WordPress hosting tiers, starting at $7.99 per month, offers unlimited storage and monthly data transfers across the board. The plans top out with the $24.46 per month managed package that includes unlimited databases and websites.
The WP Engine Experience
As you may have surmised, WP Engine only offers WordPress-based hosting. If you’re looking for traditional shared, VPS, or dedicated hosting, you must look elsewhere. Our review roundups are an excellent place to start.
WP Engine is a managed hosting environment specifically designed for WordPress installations, themes, 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 refreshing to open my introductory email, view my login 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 also 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 load quickly.
WP Engine doesn’t offer email, nor does it register domain names. You have to sign up with a third-party company for electronic mail, and you need to register a domain name at NameCheap or another dedicated URL registrar.
E-Commerce and Email Marketing
WP Engine specializes in WordPress hosting, so as you’d expect, you should tap the massive CMS plug-in library for ecommerce tools. You can find useful plug-ins from Shopify, WooCommerce, and other companies. There are numerous email marketing tools, too. Drip, DirectIQ, Mailflow, and many other companies offer WordPress plug-ins that let you leverage customers’ email addresses to make money.
The ecommerce and email marketing companies typically charge you a small fee in exchange for their services. Shopify, for example, has a $9 per month starting price.
If you’re looking to sell products via your website, you’ll want a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate. It safeguards the data sent from a customer’s computer to your site’s servers. Fortunately, WP Engine includes one, free of charge, with your hosting subscription. Considering that some web hosts make you buy an SSL certificate, I tip my hat to WP Engine for tossing one in for free.
In addition, WP Engine performs daily malware scans and has a firewall—one that’s updated daily—to block the latest threats. The web host also offers real-time threat detection, enterprise-grade firewalls, and free hacking remediation by WordPress-trained security experts.
Website uptime is one of the most important aspects of a hosting service. While your site is down, clients or customers will be unable to find you or access your products or services—and they might not come back. We take web host uptime very seriously.
For this testing, I used a website monitoring tool to track my WP Engine-hosted test site’s uptime. Every 15 minutes, the tool pings my website and sends me an email if it is unable to contact the site for longer than one minute. I look at the data for the most recent 14 days for each site’s review. In my newest tests, WP Engine proved incredibly stable. In fact, WP Engine didn’t go down once during that two week testing period. As long as it keeps on this course, you can count on it deliver a rock-solid Web hosting experience.
I contacted WP Engine several times during testing—early morning and midday—to get a sense of its support team’s effectiveness. I called to discover how to install new WodPress themes, and then used the web chat to contact a representative who would explain SSL certificates. The team answered both questions, and a few miscellaneous others, accurately and quickly, after short wait times.
Unfortunately, WP Engine’s toll-free, 24/7 telephone support isn’t available to people who’ve signed up for the Startup plan; you must be at least a Growth subscriber to get someone on the horn aroudn the clock. Otherwise, you’re limited to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (CST) hours. This could prove vexing if you’re a Startup customer who wants to speak to a human being at 3 in the morning. At $35 per month, this seems a bit stingy. WP Engine compensates with 24/7 live chat, so you aren’t totally left out in the cold if you’re a Startup customer.
WP Engine offers a healthy 60-day money-back guarantee.
Worthy WordPress Hosting
WP Engine offers a powerful form of WordPress hosting that comes with an informative customer service team, reliable uptime, and cloud platform flexibility. If you’re serious about building a WordPress-powered website, WP Engine is a fine place to start. Just remember that you must turn to a third-party company for a domain name and email accounts, and the base plan slacks 24/7 phone supprt. A2, on the other hand, is the Editors’ Choice for smaller businesses that don’t require enterprise-class WordPress hosting (and don’t want to pay the associated fees).