WP Engine Managed WordPress Hosting: An Overview and Review

Posted on February 17, 2021 by in WordPress | 23 comments

WP Engine Managed WordPress Hosting: An Overview and Review

WP Engine is one of the best-known names in managed WordPress hosting. It’s not a cheap provider, but you’re paying for premium performance, support, and a lot of developer-friendly features.

In this article, we’re going to take a close look at WP Engine to see if this web host is worth its price tag. We’ll assess its features, User Experience (UX), support, and pricing. To help you determine if this is the right provider for you, we’ll also compare it to similar hosts so you can get a feel for how it stacks up against the competition.

Let’s get to it!

An Introduction to WP Engine

The WP Engine homepage

WP Engine has been around since 2010. Over the past ten years, it’s become one of the most well-known managed WordPress hosting options. However, it’s definitely not a cheap web host, with prices for its default plans starting at $25 per month and scaling up to $241 per month. You can also opt for a custom, enterprise-level solution that caters to your specific needs.

WP Engine includes a lot of features that cater to WordPress enthusiasts and developers, such as:

On top of those features, you’ll also receive all the perks that you’d expect from managed WordPress hosting. These include around-the-clock support, automatic WordPress installation and updates (for core and plugins), automatic backups, and security checks for your website. Plans also include access to the Genesis Framework and over 30 free StudioPress themes alongside it, which is a nice bonus.

WP Engine’s User Dashboard

Once you sign up and pay for a WP Engine plan, you’ll gain access to the platform’s custom hosting dashboard. This is an important element to consider when choosing a hosting provider, as it influences how you manage your account and maintain your website.

From the get-go, WP Engine’s user interface provides you with plenty of information about all the sites on your plan. This includes available storage space, bandwidth usage, overall visits, and which version of PHP they’re using:

Managing multiple sites using WP Engine

Selecting a specific site will open its details page, which includes a more comprehensive breakdown of its resources and settings:

Accessing a site's details in WP Engine

From this screen, you can configure domains, redirect rules, enable CDN integration, manage backups, access error logs, add Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) users, and push updates to Git:

Git push via the WP Engine dashboard

At a glance, it’s easy to see that this dashboard was built with developers in mind. The platform makes it simple to access advanced settings for each website. However, each page also includes instructions and tips to help you navigate the available options:

Adding a staging website in WP Engine

If you want to enable add-ons for your websites, such as global edge security or smart plugin management, you can do so from the main menu to the left of the dashboard:

Activating the Smart Plugin Management add-on

If you’re an experienced WordPress user and this isn’t your first time working on a website, WP Engine’s dashboard should be fairly intuitive. Finding the settings that you need and managing your account is simple, but there are a lot of options that might go over your head if you’ve never dealt with a web host before.

Overall, although WP Engine can deliver a professional-grade managed WordPress hosting experience, it’s not necessarily a particularly beginner-friendly option.

WP Engine Support and Customer Service

One of the primary reasons to use a managed WordPress web host is to gain access to expert support that’s available around the clock. Plenty of other web hosts can deliver similar results when it comes to performance, but managed hosts are all about offering a bespoke experience.

In that aspect, WP Engine delivers. It offers 24/7 support via live chat and phone. In our experience, getting connected with an expert usually doesn’t take long, although you need to deal with a simple chatbot first:

Engaging with WP Engine's support via live chat

Unfortunately, phone support is only available if you opt for the Growth plan or higher. If you’re paying for the basic Startup plan, you’re stuck with live chat. However, that’s not necessarily a deal-breaker unless you have a strong preference for troubleshooting over the phone.

Even if you’re comfortable taking on errors and other challenges yourself, it’s still nice to have access to a support team that actually knows their way around WordPress. Plus, WP Engine has a comprehensive knowledgebase of WordPress tutorials that enable you to tackle technical issues on your own.

A Breakdown of WP Engine’s Prices and Plans

As we mentioned before, WP Engine’s plan selection isn’t all that broad. If you want to use a ready-made hosting plan, you only have three options to choose from:

WP Engine's plans

There’s a significant price difference between the plans, which is not optimal. If you’re running a single website using the Startup plan and you need to add a second one, your monthly payments would jump from $25 to $95, which is not a small difference.

Aside from increased bandwidth and storage, and the ability to add more sites to your account, upgrading to a more expensive plan also gives you access to more features and add-ons. However, some features are only available to customers who ask for custom hosting solutions. Among those, you have Application Performance Management (APM) tools, GeoTargeting, and support for WordPress multisite.

As far as cost goes, WP Engine’s plans start at around the same price as other managed WordPress hosting options such as Kinsta and Flywheel. The platform’s Startup plan is a competitive option if you need to host a single website. Moreover, this host supports monthly payments, which is helpful if you don’t want to pay for a full year in advance.

Although the Startup plan is not a bad option, you can find cheaper solutions for a single website. Where WP Engine really shines is when you’re working on multiple WordPress websites and you need access to development features and stellar performance.

Overall, WP Engine is not the type of web host you choose for personal use or for hosting a small website. It’s a solution for enterprise sites, agencies, and developers.

WP Engine vs Other Managed WordPress Web Hosts

People often suggest managed WordPress hosting platforms as the default solution if you want the best possible performance for your website. However, choosing between managed WordPress web hosts can be difficult since they often have similar features and starting price points.

With that in mind, here’s a quick breakdown of how WP Engine compares with other popular managed WordPress hosting options:

  • Flywheel vs WP Engine. Flywheel is an overall cheaper option than WP Engine, but it’s more geared towards agencies and developers working on multiple client projects.
  • Kinsta vs WP Engine. As far as price and features go, Kinsta is the closest option on the market to WP Engine. However, Kinsta offers a broader range of plans to choose from, which could make it more affordable to scale your site.
  • Pressable vs WP Engine.  Pressable doesn’t offer as many advanced features as WP Engine, but this web host does have fantastic performance and is a good fit for personal sites.
  • SiteGround vs WP Engine. SiteGround is perhaps the most budget-friendly managed WordPress hosting option on the market. It’s also suitable for smaller sites.

If you’re looking for a budget WordPress hosting option, WP Engine shouldn’t be your first choice. This particular web host is overkill for personal websites and other projects that you don’t expect will see much traffic. On the other hand, if you need a web host that can help you run multiple WordPress websites and gives you access to developer-friendly features, this host can be a fantastic option.

Conclusion

There’s plenty of reasons why WP Engine is one of the most popular options when it comes to managed WordPress hosting. It offers some of the best performance you can get for WordPress websites, and its plans are perfect if you need to manage multiple projects.

Although WP Engine isn’t cheap, when you sign up for a plan with this host you’re paying for access to developer-friendly features and one of the best hosting dashboards we’ve used so far. Plus, you get round-the-clock support from people who actually know about WordPress, which can be invaluable.

Do you have any questions about WP Engine? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!

Image by Kris_Anfalova / shutterstock.com

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23 Comments

  1. My confusion is knowing what ET thoughts are for normal WordPress hosting. The results for searching for the best wp hosting sites is like trying to consume an elephant.

    Would like to get some insite into companies that you trust for everyday normal wp hosting and wp hosting with e-commerce.

    • Honestly Randy, it can be overwhelming at times when looking for a host. This is especially the case when everyone goes to bat for their own personal choice.

      Unfortunately, the answer is less clear cut. It really is a fine balance between myriad factors, that are personal to your needs.

      My advice is to read through our reviews here, because they’re not advertorials, are unbiased, and written honestly. From there, you may want to chat to their support directly to ascertain how they would handle your queries day to day.

      You may also want to purchase a month or exercise the money-back guarantee in order to carry out a real-world test. It’s going to be the only way to find a perfect host for you. Good luck! 🙂

  2. After my awful experience with GoDaddy Managed WordPress ( I assumed that this would be optimized for use with WordPress) I am not likely to ever try a Managed WordPress again. the sites were very slow loading, I was not able to control the WP version or the PHP version along with a lot of other quirks. I finally got the sites I was trying out on that over to my other re-seller account in a c-panel set-up and immediately the sites ran faster and I had control over the specifics.

    • Hello Cathleen!

      I’m glad you’ve found a solution that works for you. However, don’t necessarily dismiss managed hosting as restrictive. Many hosts will happily work with you to meet you requirements – it could just be that you didn’t find the right managed host for you.

    • Cathleen,

      We have noticed some performance issues with WPEngine. We have several sites hosted their currently. Would you mind reaching out to me about your approach? We managed our Drupal sites on Digital Ocean for several years now, but I want the ease of manged hosting with the performance of a Digital Ocean. I’d love to hear from you.

  3. I have work with them in the past, they are nice I just can’t justify 35$ a month for a single website. Or 115$ for 5.

    There are other options out there.

  4. A good read! One thing that was missed in the comparison to Flywheel is that Flywheel’s plan also includes free malware removal on every tier – something that should be considered for the price comparison.

    • Thanks for the insight, David!

  5. It’s too expensive for a small website.

  6. It’s worth noting that WPEngine do have reseller’s, companies that buy enterprise plans and then resell accounts one website at a time. I have had WordPress sites hosted on WPEngine for $20 per site which makes it great value considering the performance.

    • Good point, Warren – thanks for your input. 🙂

  7. It should also be noted that Kinsta runs on Google Cloud. We run a Woocommerce store with 11k products + variations. Kinsta handles it just fine.

    Might be helpful to include who managed WordPress hosting is for… The target market is e-commerce, medium to large businesses, or serious blogs and news sites interested in making money.

    • Thanks for the insight and feedback, Joe. 🙂

  8. I want To know that, Does wpengine provide customer service all over the world? I am from India, and if I need any technical assistance regarding hosting account , how will they provide me support ?

  9. It is a useful article for managed WordPress hosting. An excellent fit for large businesses with a big budget.

  10. I have used WPEngine for a few years now and I am completely happy with their service and extremely happy with their support. They service is specialized for WordPress sites, offers great features, and backs them up with the best and most experienced tech support I’ve used before. I run a web agency and we host multiple sites for customers all over the country. The reason I can do this is the support we get from WPEngine. They handle all of the tedious and automatable tasks for us including CDN, backups, and more. Their staging and development areas make adding new features to sites a breeze and their experienced support has walked us through solutions many times. As we all know, updating plugins and themes over time is like playing drunk Jenga in the dark and anyone that can help me make that easier is my best friend ; )

    They are more pricey than others but from experience they allow me to provide a more enterprise level of service to my customers which allow me to make more money and make my job easier and that means a lot more to me than cheap hosting.

  11. I’ve used (or had clients use) WPEngine, Liquid Web, Media Temple, GoDaddy, HostGator, Cloudaways and others they didn’t even know….

    I currently have a Tier One account (think that is what it is called) at WPEngine at $600 a month and Hostgator account for a small web app I created. WPE is pricey, no doubt about it. I have 50+ sites hosted there though. There is a certain amount of comfort that comes with daily backups and manual backups anytime you want, support that is super knowledgeable and the ability to have a live, staging and dev install for each site. If there is an issue, I push to staging or dev and figure it out. If something bombs, I can restore a backup from their Dashboard. All those backup plugins are great but if you loose access to the WP Dashboard, how do you trigger the restore? I’ve never had more helpful and knowledgeable support either. Between their support and the ability to move sites around, troubleshoot and restore backups in a matter of minutes versus hours is worth the money.

    Media Temple and GoDaddy were average at best. Liquid Web was great and fast until I started having issues and then support dropped off dramatically. Hostgator (not managed WP) works well but requires much more technical expertise. I only played around with Cloudaways but my initial impressions were very good. It was much easier than I thought it would be and the sites loaded extremely fast.

    If I had to move to another provider, I’m not sure who I would go with. WPE is so easy to use and provides so many features that I just won’t give that up again. I made that mistake once. Moving 50+ sites twice (away and then back) is a very large undertaking with more than a few headaches.

    • Thanks for sharing, Brett!

      • Exactly my case! Moving out from WPE because of its pricey at the time, and then realized that the cheaper providers gave me some crazy headaches about the speed and supporting. I finally back with WPE with new thought, they’re not that expensive because they take care of everything for me.

  12. We have 4.5 servers with WPEngine and while that is a hefty bill each year/month, we also host over 450 sites. For us, it’s a no-brainer and the cost at basically $6/m for each account is cheaper than some crappy GoDaddy/shared hosting provider. We also use it as a major selling point for our customers, which in turn helps our attrition and helps us gain new clients when they experience the difference for themselves. Also, it’s worth noting that Flywheel is now owned by WPEngine. If you’re between the 2, get off the fence and go with WPEngine – it’s hands down a better experience all around. The customer experience alone is worth the cost.

    • Awesome – appreciate your input, Nathan!

  13. It is very useful article for me . Thanks for sharing this article.

    • Happy to help, Bhisham!

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