My WP Engine Review – Managed WordPress hosting at it’s finest
Hi, I’m Onuora Amobi, the editor of Windows9update and this is my review and endorsement of Managed WordPress host – WP Engine.
I’ve probably built over 100 websites in my life and made a comfortable six figure income running these sites.
Now that I have a bit of a brand out there, web hosting companies usually reach out and ask me to promote their brands to readers like you. I almost always say no because the truth is, I have used almost all of them and let me tell you, they all have their kinks and problems.
I ended up with WP Engine and this has turned out to be the BEST technology decision I have made in the past 5 years.
For the record, even though I am an affiliate of theirs, they NEVER reached out to me to make this endorsement.
I really wanted to take some time to try and spread the love.
Let’s take a Step Back
To help you understand why I am in love with this company, let’s take a step back.
This site you’re reading is built and run on WordPress, the most popular and effective content management system in the world.
Now, when you run a WordPress website, whether it’s a small website with 10 visitors a day or a larger one like this that does between 50,000 to 100,000 page views a day, you have one critical decision to make.
You have to decide what type of hosting to get.
I’ll run through the two options you have really briefly so you can get a clear idea of some of the options you have.
When you have regular hosting, the hosting company provides a space for your website or sites and you have varying levels of support depending on the company.
The bottom line is, with this type of hosting, you’re ultimately responsible for your website running smoothly. You may have a support line to call and they may know a little about WordPress (usually not) but ultimately, you’re on the hook for your website.
As you can imagine, this model left a lot of people struggling and overwhelmed with all the challenges that WordPress sites tend to provide.
As a result, a few years ago, a new model of web hosting emerged.
Managed WordPress Hosting
With managed WordPress hosting, things work a little differently.
Similar to regular hosting, the hosting company provides you with all the standard web hosting stuff (FTP, Bandwidth etc) BUT there’s a lot more.
A good Managed WordPress hosting company does exactly that – they Manage WordPress for you.
The difference is night and day.
There are a few of these types of WordPress hosts but I have to tell you, I’m in love with WP Engine.
But Why WP Engine?
That’s a great question and I’ll give you the answers one by one.
Amazing Customer Service
The employees at this company seem like they’re friggin happy all the time. Seriously, they seem happy like ALL the time.
It’s a strategic choice on their part but it makes a huge difference.
The customer service culture is really remarkable. Even the avatars of the support people have smiles on them and the support staff are ALWAYS cheerful and upbeat.
Whether you have questions or feedback, these guys and girls make you feel like they will always go the extra mile. I should know, I’m a very happy customer.
Speaking of support, they add a very unique twist to it.
Support via Live Chat
You can’t really appreciate the value of being able to log in and be able to ping a real, live, FRIENDLY person to answer your question.
I have gotten spoiled and used to the ubiquitous Chat Now icon in the bottom right corner of my screen.
When you’re a customer and you’re logged in, you just go to the Support menu and select the Chat option.
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Then the Chat box opens up in the bottom right hand of your browser screen.
This was an example I used AS I WROTE THIS REVIEW IN REAL TIME.
25 seconds later….
90% of the time when I have needed support for a question, I have been able to connect to someone within two or three minutes.
If you think that’s a long time, you need to try some of the other web hosts across the street. See who you can get in 2 to 3 minutes! 🙂
WordPress Plugin Support
When you are building a WordPress Blog, one of the things that you will come across is Plugin conflicts.
Plugins are pieces of code that you can literally “plug in” to enhance the functionality of your blog.
Sometimes, some of these plugins can slow down or even crash your blog.
The good folks here have gone through the trouble of creating a list of “troubled” plugins that they recommend removing.
Some of the plugins are just unsupported pieces of code, some are bad for performance and some are unnecessary for your site. It’s cool that they have taken the time to do the due diligence.
Once again, the average website owner just wants to set up and start blogging or writing. It’s nice to have an extra set of eyes looking out for you.
One of the things I have to worry about as a website owner is you the reader and your oh-so-short attention span.
WordPress can be slow sometimes, especially when you’re competing for hardware resources at a discount host, whether in a shared environment or “cloud” service. Many plugins and themes make it worse.
WP Engine specializes in serving up your blog content really fast.
First they use only top-of-the line dedicated hardware and spread out web requests and database queries across multiple servers.
Next, they’ve hand-built a WordPress-specific EverCache system that’s capable of delivering pages in as little as 150 milliseconds.
If that wasn’t enough, they’re the only WordPress hosting company that includes a fully-managed Content Distribution Network (CDN) service, where they serve your static content from “edge” servers all around the world, reducing latency by seconds.
Remember, the entire point of using a Managed WordPress host is because they can manage all this performance stuff for you.
Trust me when I tell you that these guys and girls know what the heck they’re doing.
I could go on and on about all the other features available to you from WP Engine.
This one’s real easy.
I challenge you find another company with as many endorsements from independent customers.
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And on and on they go…
To see more endorsements, head to their homepage and take a look.
Here are some more benefits…
Assistance with moving your site over
WP Engine has put together what is a pretty comprehensive migration checklist to assist you with moving your site over from your old host. They have also partnered with WP Valet, a top notch WordPress services firm that specializes in WordPress migrations. That way, if you want to have another company move you over, you’re covered as well.
The WordPress Hack Guarantee
They automatically scan for, and fix, hacking attempts to secure your site. Their guarantee: They’ll do everything they can to ensure your WordPress site won’t get hacked. And if your WordPress site still gets hacked, WP Engine hosting services will fix it…at no additional charge to you.
One Click WordPress Backup and Restore
WP Engine have included a one-click backup and restore option — at no extra charge.
To add to that, they install WordPress security updates proactively so that’s one less thing you have to deal with.
But here’s the thing
Now, this has all been really awesome stuff but there is one secret weapon they have that is what pushed me over the edge.
As someone who is constantly tweaking and trying new things, when I heard about this feature, I became a WP Engine junkie!
The One Click Staging Environment
This is (for me) hands down the most awesome feature that WP Engine.
In a traditional hosting environment, when you set up a WordPress install, you typically also want to set up a separate sandbox to test new stuff out (code, plugins etc).
This usually involves lots of manual labor (database install, FTP files, plugin installs, etc etc) all to make your sandbox look like your production database.
Here’s the thing, it’s not that it’s hard to do (if you know what you’re doing), it’s just tedious and not the best use of your time.
WP Engine solved this puzzle and here’s how it works.
Step 1 – In WordPress, I go to my new WP Engine menu item. I click on it.
Step 2 – On the next screen, you’ll see a Staging tab. You click on that.
Step 3 – Click to create a new environment.
Here’s the cool thing.
- You can make a copy of your main site and create a Staging area (or sandbox) with ONE CLICK.
- If you test out a BIG change and you like it, you can copy your site from Staging to your main site with ONE CLICK.
I can tell you this right now, as a webmaster with multiple active websites, this feature can save you hundreds of hours of manual labor every year.
They had me at hello. 🙂
For all the reasons I’ve outlined above (and more), WP Engine is the leading Managed WordPress hosting company today.
If you’re just getting started with WordPress and are trying to figure this thing out, you’re probably going to want to try their cheaper Personal Plan.
If you’re a technical person looking for a more efficient system to manage your sites, A WP Engine Professional or Business plan is probably going to work well for you.
Either way, I guarantee this, you really can’t go wrong with this company.
Head over to WP Engine and check out the plans that will work for you.
In this review, Onuora Amobi takes a detailed look at WP Engine and how the company's web hosting services are different from the competition.