The managed WordPress hosting industry is still very big.
Some people believe that most WordPress users now have enough knowledge of WordPress that they no longer need these hosting companies to help them set up their servers, but even though this is true, do these users have the capacity to take care of their servers on a regular basis on their own?
For a lot of WordPress users, the answer is no.
Unless you are a developer that works with WordPress every day, setting up servers with Ocean breeze or Linode may seem as easy as rocket science.
If you just want to create a website for your business or personal use without getting your hands dirty, then you need an expert’s touch.
For an average user, WordPress is merely a Blackbox that aids you to showcase your portfolio, make posts, and manage comments – and it should stay that way, even though it’s so much more.
As long as the primary purpose of your business does not involve the more technical aspects of WordPress, then there’s no reason why you should know too much about security, speed, daily backups, scalability, etc.
That is where managed WordPress hosting comes in. When you are signed up to their services, your managed host will be responsible for the more technical, administrative tasks so that you can focus more on building and marketing your business.
This article is about one of the best hosting companies in the game; WP Engine, but before we dive into details about them, let’s talk about cars for a minute.
The Bugatti Veyron is a super-fast car, and I’m sure you will perform very well if you use the everyday Veyron for a drag race. But if I have learned anything from Fast and Furious, the winners of the race are always those who have optimized their cars, with better tires, a modified gearbox, and turbocharger.
At the end of the day, the car is still a Bugatti Veyron, but one that is optimized to perform better than the everyday stock Veyron.
It is the same thing with WordPress.
The out of the box web server has the same components, but the job of a managed hosting company is to optimize these servers to make your WordPress website a winning one.
WP Engine is one of those managed hosting companies that knows their stuff. They are experts in giving you the necessary support and backup that will help you drive (pun intended) your website to success.
They are headquartered in Austin, Texas, and are one of the pioneers of managed hosting services for WordPress.
WP Engine has a lot of competitors in the market including Siteground, Bluehost, Flywheel, Pantheon and others, but before you draw any conclusions, you must realize that the hosting industry has become a super complicated place.
Some of them offer specialized WordPress technical support, while others are mainly focused on the server-side aspect of WordPress.
For WP Engine, their primary function is to ensure that WordPress users focus less on security, speed and performance, and the more technical functions of their sites.
That being said, WP Engine still remains an industry leader in both the general and managed WordPress hosting space, so let’s find out why.
WP Engine Features
Let’s take a look what WP Engine offers.
WP Engine Speed and Performance
It’s a general belief that the more complex your website is, the slower it will likely be, but there are a number of factors that will determine the speed of your website, regardless of what it contains.
Using the Bugatti narrative, how fast you can drive it depends on a lot of things, but the idea is to understand how the car works and what roads you will drive it on.
To know how your website can become faster, you need to understand what makes WordPress websites faster and what inhibits them.
Sounds like a lot? Well, luckily for you, WP Engine mostly has it covered.
WP Engine has some of the best types of machinery in place to make speed and performance one less thing to worry about.
For starters, their partnership with StackPath ensures that all their subscribers can access a content delivery network that uses CDN to reduce the ping rate, thereby making the site faster. This service is free for you as long as you subscribe to any of their paid plans.
Caching is another way to ensure faster speed and processing sudden traffic surges without ever going offline.
This is possible with the aid of EverCache that updates your site whenever there’s a new entry. The combination of StackPath and EverCache sees to it that your customers get content faster while caching static content on your site.
WP Engine ensures that all your pages are cached, as well as your subdomains and redirects.
You can always check how your site is faring by yourself. There’s a performance testing tool in your user portal that only requires you to input your site’s URL to know how it is performing.
More than that, the tool also recommends ways to improve the site speed and other areas where it lags. You will see the time it takes to display the first object on your site, as well as how long it takes to display everything on the site completely.
This will save you the stress of having to use third-party apps to gain insights into your site’s performance and how to improve it.
WP Engine has a speed tool that you can use to see how fast your website loads if you don’t want to use an external application.
Overall, WP Engine helps you maintain your site’s speed and performance even when you have more visitors coming, and it does this without having to mess with any layered caching plugin.
Interesting Comparison: WP Engine Vs Kinsta
WP Engine Customer Support
Customer support is a big part of any business, especially one that is in the business of offering services.
When it comes to WordPress hosting customer support, WP Engine is reputed as one of the best.
In fact, they have more than 200 support experts who work around the clock to ensure that customers get only the best-personalized support experience.
To ensure that there’s always someone to respond to you, WP Engine support centers are located in three global places, so when you do call, you can be sure that there will be someone ready to answer at the other end.
The best part is that their support isn’t only limited to hosting problems. Their support team consists of WordPress experts and engineers that are capable of troubleshooting your site issues and recommending better solutions.
You can reach out to them via their live chat or ask any questions you may have over the phone.
Their user portal support is to be used for hosting or WordPress related issues, plus they also have a large knowledge base that contains several articles that can proffer solutions to your issues.
They boast of a 3-minute response time for their live chat, and from personal experience, I can confirm that they respond even faster, regardless of what time of the day you contact them.
WP Engine Security
Security will always be a concern for WordPress users being that the platform powers a higher number of websites than any other single platform. This means that many sites built on WordPress will be prime targets for hackers.
That being said, there’s isn’t really too much to worry about. WordPress as an open-source platform does not in any way put it in a disadvantaged position in terms of security.
There’s no saying whether closed-source sites are more secure than open-source ones. If anything, open-source platforms give you access to a large community that constantly releases new updates and tests for different vulnerabilities.
For WordPress users that handle their own server infrastructures, securing their websites is not a difficult task either. They simply have to install and update files and plugins regularly from verified creators, including a security plugin, and backup their content.
Despite being straightforward, the responsibility still falls on you, and you must be vigilant not to ever fall prey to malware distributors.
For WP Engine users, the host handles everything, and WP Engine will handle site security better than the average WordPress user as a result of their team of experts.
They observe all the best practices and backup your website to be ready to roll back if there is ever a cyber apocalypse.
Their partnership with top security firms guarantees that you have the best hand on your website and they are responsible for bringing your site back to normalcy for free if you ever get hacked.
Check Out: WP Engine Vs AWS
WP Engine Market focus
Remember at the beginning, we mentioned that there are different web hosting companies with different flavors? Well, what we simply meant was that each different host has a different target market.
For WP Engine, their are ideal customers are placed in 3 classes and WP Engine has optimized their tools and staff to ensure that they satisfy these three classes.
The first class consists of developers that are looking for a platform where they can have a laser focus on development and design without having to worry about hosting maintenance and what comes with it.
This way, everything is separated, being that the developer’s only job is to build the website on WP Engine’s staging environment, test, and launch it. Once that is done, they can hand over the website to their client, with the assurance that there will be no hosting, security, or performance issues.
WP Engine uses some of their most premium tools for this market, including Git push, transferable installs, staging, etc., and if they sound expensive, that is because they are, but some clients with huge budgets are willing to break the bank for the best service.
The second class of customers consists of the majority whose reasons for using WordPress in the first place is because they do not care to handle the technical implications that come with it. They are those that already have established businesses, but with a different (poorer) host, and can now afford a managed service.
WP Engine uses their automated migration tool to make the process faster and it is a lot smoother since they offer phone support.
Finally, the third category consists of new businesses that are looking to commit to a good platform for a long time.
They usually do not have previous infrastructures or content on other platforms, and would like to launch a complete website from scratch at once.
WP Engine Hosting
The WP Engine’s development team is known for upgrading and creating new features to meet new trends and demands from customers.
If there’s anything about WordPress, it is that new versions are rolled out frequently. The WordPress of today and a few years ago may look very similar, but a lot has changed. They have introduced many new developers’ features and, as far as I know, WP Engine has been able to integrate into every one of them.
One of WP Engine’s features that have simplified web development for its users is the acquisition of StudioPress.
StudioPress is a platform that makes it easy for WordPress users to access different WordPress theme frameworks. This deal is available to all WP Engine users, irrespective of the subscription package they paid for.
With StudioPress, WordPress users can use the Genesis framework and hundreds of other premium WordPress themes to quickly design a new and professional-looking website.
This is especially useful for new WordPress users with no prior experience in web development. The most difficult part of using StudioPress for them is deciding on the best theme to use.
All StudioPress themes are pre-set according to different industries and they are loaded with SEO and security features.
WP Engine Complexities
One thing that WordPress users know about WP Engine is that they are able to achieve faster speed, security, and scalability, but what many don’t know is that in order to achieve those, the hosting company has to do things differently.
On the bright side, this difference isn’t necessarily bad. In fact, after all is said and done, it will be well worth it, but it’s the road towards the destination that will be a royal pain, especially to the non-techies.
WP Engine’s backend wasn’t always as clean as it now is, but the price for this is that it now requires more custom configuration.
For example, many hosting companies provide DNS nameservers for their users, but not WP Engine. Instead, they require that you update your DNS directly with the provider whom you purchased the DNS from.
For an experienced developer, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but a single mistake can cause different types of complications resulting from redirect loops that are capable of leaving the developer’s site exposed to the public or unable to execute some features.
Of course, after a while of using WP Engine, you will get the hang of it, or at least become better at it. For now, you will probably have to watch videos on how to push your website live to get you through.
Even after that, you cannot truly boast of understanding WP Engine completely.
If you surf their knowledge base, you will come across different materials with a number of checklists that you need to diagnose your site-related issues. And if you set up your DNS based on a video that has a different method from what they have recommended, your site can go down.
In this situation, their customer support will be the only answer to your prayers.
WP Engine Limited Versatility
Another downside of WP Engine’s different setup method is that it draws a thick boundary to what you can bring into your site and what you can take out.
This is because the uniqueness of the site is reliant on the fact that the entire architecture and installations on the site are uniform.
The idea is that all their plugins, visitor patterns, and use cases must be on a predictable, unidirectional line.
Granted, different WordPress hosting platforms have their own different rules, but WP Engine goes the extra mile to determine what you can and can’t introduce to your own site.
One of the measures that they put in place to deter seasonal traffic spikes is the ridiculously expensive rate they have pegged the tiers at.
While they may find it easy to make a case for banning some plugins and admin behaviors, it does restrict the versatility of users.
‘Yet Another Related Post’ plugin is one of the most popular plugins that have been exiled by WP Engine. This plugin works very well with small sites that give a lot of emphasis to content marketing, but it is not allowed in WP Engine.
Another aspect of the host that hinders versatility is its pricing structure. For what it’s worth, the amount that will take to handle a medium traffic site on WP Engine can very well be used to buy a VPS server that is capable of handling much more massive traffic.
With WP Engine, you are essentially paying for performance and not storage.
WP Engine Pricing
Like we said before, WP Engine pricing isn’t cheap, but it’s worth it since you are paying for performance and not storage.
Looking at it based on features, they do not give you the most generous deal.
Unless you run a large business that requires a dedicated environment and support, there are three paid plans that you can choose from:
Priced at $30/month, this one is ideal for businesses that are just kicking off, but can still afford a managed hosting plan.
Here are the main features of the Startup plan:
- Genesis Framework and 35+ StudioPress themes
- 24/7 customer support
- Staging environment
- PHP 7.3 ready
- Automated SSL certificates
- Global CDN
- Free transferable sites
- 10GB local storage
- 25k monthly visits
- 50GB bandwidth
- 1 website
Priced at $115/month, the Growth plan is for businesses that want to scale up as a result of continual growth in traffic.
Here are the main features of the Growth plan:
- 20GB local storage
- 100k monthly visits
- 200GB bandwidth
- 5 websites
- SSH gateway
Plus everything else the Startup plan has.
Priced at $290/month, this plan is designed for businesses with large WordPress websites that need a managed hosting service for better performance.
Here are the main features of the Scale plan:
- 30GB local storage
- 400k monthly visits
- 400GB bandwidth
- 15 websites
Plus everything else the Growth plan has.
They also have a custom plan for large businesses. Contact them for a quote.
These are monthly payment plans. If you pay annually, you get some discount.
WP Engine Coupon
If you want to sign up for WP Engine now, you’ll enjoy a discount off any plan that you want to subscribe to.
WP Engine is offering a coupon code that grants you a 30% discount off any of their plans or you can get the first five months of your web hosting free when you prepay for a year.
To qualify for this discount, use the code ‘CYBERWKND30’.
How To Apply The Coupon Code
First, go to WP ENGINE from this page. Once you use this link, you will automatically qualify for a 30% discount and you will see a message to that effect.
When you click on ‘Apply Discount’, the site will take you down to the pricing section. There you are to click on the ‘Get Started’ button for your preferred plan.
The next page will prompt you to set up your account.
Before you fill out the form, check the right-hand side of the page to confirm that your code applied correctly.
Enter your billing information and click ‘Create my Site’ when you are ready.
WP Engine has a few drawbacks, especially the high cost of their pricing tiers.
That being said, if you want to scale your business to accommodate your online growth and increase your revenue in the process, I recommend WP Engine, any day.
With its speed, performance, and security features, you will give your site visitors the best possible experience.