/WP Engine Web Hosting

WP Engine Web Hosting

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 more-than-competent host that boasts excellent uptime, WordPress-specific security, and other excellent features. On other hand, WP Engine also has some flaws—its lack of domain names and email hosting among them—that prevent it from becoming PCMag’s favorite WordPress hosting service.

WP Engine’s WordPress Plans

WP Engine offers three WordPress hosting plans, all of which boast automatic daily backups and malware scanning. These are all managed WordPress hosting plans, so WP Engine’s technicians give your installation the white-glove treatment. The plans are all Linux-based, so if you want Windows-based hosting, you must look elsewhere.

The most basic plan, Startup (starting at relatively pricey $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.

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 premium WordPress host that offers premium features.

All plans come with 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.

Still, TMDHosting$2.95 at TMD Hosting – Shared remains the Editors’ Choice for WordPress hosting. The top dog gives you three tiers of WordPress hosting, as well as the option for Linux- or Windows-based servers. The Windows option is important for webmasters who build sites using Microsoft-specific scripting frameworks, such as ASP and ASP.NET. That’s something you just cannot do within the confines of a Linux-based server.

TMDHosting’s packages start at $8.95 per month (for unlimited storage and monthly data transfers) and scale up to $16.95 per month (for all that plus unlimited site hosting). Its pre-built environment comes with many WordPress-friendly features, including live malware protection and curated plug-ins that are designed to enhance your experience. Plus, should you want to move to a different type of hosting, TMDHosting offers those, too. TMDHosting also gives you a free domain name and unlimited email accounts upon sign up.

WP Engine

Some Omissions

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. In addition, many web hosting services, such as 1&1 and the Editors’ Choice award-winning DreamHost, already include email as a part of each hosting plan. This omission makes WP Engine far less less convenient if you’re starting from scratch, and you also have to factor in those added costs when you are considering its prices, which are not cheap. If you have to go elsewhere to get started, you might just want to go with a do-it-all shop, and one that’s cheaper to boot.

As you may have surmised, WP Engine only offers WordPress-based hosting. If you’re looking for traditional shared, VPS, dedicated, cloud, or reseller hosting, you must look elsewhere. Our review roundups are an excellent place to start.

The WP Engine Experience

WP Engine is a managed hosting environment specifically designed for WordPress installations 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 is compatible with a wide range of WordPress plug-ins. That said, the company maintains a small list of plug-ins that it doesn’t support, due to their negative performance impact or duplication of built-in WP Engine features.

Unlike 1&1, WP Engine doesn’t offer traditional web hosting, so you can’t upload your Linux- or Windows-based non-WordPress site and related apps. The upside is that WP Engine 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 quickly load.

WP Engine

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 feee in exchange for their services. Shopify, for example, has a $9 per month starting price.

Website Security Features

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.

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 states that if your site gets hacked, it’ll repair the damage free of charge.

Excellent Uptime

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.

WP Engine

Customer Service

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 WordPress 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 Professional subscriber to get someone on the horn. This could prove vexing if you’re a Personal customer want to speak to a human being—at $35 per month, this seems a bit stingy. WP Engine compensates with 24/7 live chat, however, so you aren’t totally left out in the cold if you’re a Personal subscriber.

WP Engine offers a healthy 60-day money-back guarantee that’s far superior to the 15-day trial period offered by rival WordPress host Pressable. Unfortunately, the refund doesn’t apply to the Premium and Enterprise Grade plans.

Solid WordPress Hosting

WP Engine offers a basic level of managed WordPress functionality with some useful features, but the visitor and data caps—as well as the lack of email, domain names, and Windows servers—hurt its rating. For a more complete WordPress hosting experience, check out TMDHosting, PCMag’s Editors’ Choice in WordPress hosting, a service that supplies domain names, unlimited URLs, and a Windows Server option.

For the basics of getting started online, read How to Build a Website.

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