About 2 years ago, we made the decision to move all of our WordPress-based websites to a “managed” hosting solution. We didn’t make this decision lightly as it would involve moving a few large websites while also increasing the cost of our monthly hosting (compared to our crappy cheap hosting).
After looking into a few different options, we ultimately decided on WP Engine. We felt WP Engine offered many of the features we were looking for at a very reasonable price. We also loved the fact that we could test the platform for 60 days for free.
So 12-months later, was it really worth it? Lets take a look at some of my favorite features and things that I think could be improved on.
Speed and Performance
There’s no doubt, WP Engine is fast. Like really fast. JointsWP.com is 4x faster on WP Engine compared to HostGator. This is due to many factors, but it essentially comes down to:
- They utilize awesome servers, which utilizes their own “secret sauce”
- The servers are optimizes for WordPress, which includes a caching system
- They don’t overload their servers like most shared hosts
I’m sure you can get similar performance if you setup and configure your own server (which makes you a total bad ass in my book), but for us, that wasn’t a viable option. We don’t have the resources to maintain our own server, so being able to get this type of performance out of a managed hosting environment was a huge plus.
Migration and Setup
With WP Engine, you don’t get the traditional cPanel, you get a a much simpler control panel that makes it extremely easy to do everything from setup domain names to creating 301 re-directs.
When you create a “new install”, WordPress is automatically setup and installed for you. At this point, you can start working on your website or you can migrate over your existing website.
If you’ve ever moved a WordPress site manually, you know that it’s really not that hard. It’s no different with WP Engine. And if you ever run into a roadblock, their support team is awesome and can help work through almost any issue you throw at them.
WP Engine has since released their own migration plugin, which looks similar to Duplicator and other popular migration tools.
Every week there seems to be a new theme, plugin or core vulnerability plaguing WordPress. WP Engine understands this and does a ton of work to make sure your website stays safe.
On top of this, WP Engine implements multiple firewalls and other network monitoring tools. All of this equates to them stopping most threats before they get anywhere near your precious cat photo blog website.
Favorite Feature: One-Click Staging Sites
Prior to WP Engine, we rarely used staging sites. We bravely pushed directly from local environments to production and often made rather large content changes directly to live sites. (What the hell were we thinking?!)
However, WP Engine offers “one-click staging sites” – allowing anyone to quickly setup testing environments that are exact copies of their live site. Once you’re happy with the changes, it only takes one more click to push all changes to the live site.
You can use these staging sites to test large changes such as theme modifications or to test smaller changes such as the addition of new plugins or content.
Other Features We Love:
- Automatic Daily Back-Ups / 1-Click Restore Points
- Easy to use CDN
- Git Integration
WP Engine seems to have been built around one core concept: hosting WordPress websites in an easy, effective manner.
It may cost more than shared hosting like HostGator or DreamHost (avoid them, please), but after using the platform for about a year, I realize that isn’t a fair comparison. WP Engine is so much more than “just a host”, it’s a platform developed to supercharge your WordPress website.
So was WP Engine “worth it”? Definitely.
If price is the only thing holding you back, check out SiteGround. They offer WordPress hosting packages that have many of the same features of WP Engine with packages starting at $3.95.
Bonus Tip: WP Engine will pay you $200 for each client you sign up.
Bonus Tip #2: Save 20% on your first payment by using this link.