It’s no a brainer that having good, reliable web hosting is one of the most crucial aspects of any growing or established blog.
One of the most daunting tasks that you will face with your blog is choosing the right web hosting company.
There are many great options available, especially when you have a small or medium-sized WordPress blog.
Budget hosting like Bluehost is sufficient for a smaller blog, but the task gets tedious when your WordPress blog starts growing exponentially and greater server resources are required to handle your increasing traffic.
- Linode is an un-managed VPS.
- KnownHost is a managed VPS.
But due to the complex nature of my WordPress configuration (40+ plugins & many custom scripts), I decided to move away from these hosts and find a solution that would give me complete peace of mind.
My goal with the new host was to be able to forget about hosting headaches in order to focus on what I’m good at:
With the collection of features offered, and the complete “hassle-free hosting” available for WordPress, I decided to sign up and pay $250/month for their hosting services.
You must be wondering why I would choose to pay that amount of money when I can get a dedicated server for the same price.
This is a reasonable question, and the answer is that, again, I wanted complete peace of mind. I didn’t want to spend an hour a day (or even an hour a week) addressing hosting issues, because based on my experience, I feel very strongly that:
My journey with WPEngine, and what made me ditch the service for good:
Following a lot of research and making the decision to pay that hefty $250/month to host ShoutMeLoud, I finally moved to WPEngine.
I shared my experience of moving to WPEngine here.
The quality of hosting I was promised was up to par, and I had no problem with WPEngine until…
One day they emailed me and told me that I had to pay:
- $223 EXTRA for overage charges.
And indeed, they deducted that amount of money from my credit card.
This company’s “overage charges” created a big hole in my pocket and will create holes in the pockets of any medium and large publishers who are on WPEngine or any similar hosting service that charges you per “visit”.
WPEngine’s pricing policy is nonsense.
Let’s have a look at how WPEngine counts “visits”:
The following two issues only served to add to my frustration:
- We reset our notion of “unique IP address” every day.
- Robots have the same few IP addresses, so they will be consolidated within one day, but will count again the next day.
When we buy web hosting from any company, we take note of how many visitors they allow within the various packages they offer. I opted for WPEngine’s “Business” plan as it allows up to 400,000 visits/month and my Google Analytics was showing only 356,000 visits/month.
Here is what the WPEngine “Business” plan offers:
Comparing Google Analytics with WPEngine stats:
In the images below, I am comparing stats shown by Google Analytics for the period of 15th August-15th September 2014 with WPEngine’s stats for the same period.
First, let’s have a look at the Google Analytics stats:
Now let’s have a look at the stats from WPEngine for the same time period:
Also, take note of the following message:
Please note: I have implemented CloudFlare to ignore bad bots visits, otherwise my charges would be at least 1.5X the charges you see here.
Additionally, I was paying for hot-linked images (or images that were shared on Twitter, my email newsletter, and many other places).
Have a look at the image below, bearing in mind that this is what the WPEngine team notes at the top:
- “Here is a list of your top static referrers. If a large %age of hits here are occurring from a domain that you do not control, your WP Engine visit count will be negatively impacted.”
Essentially, WPEngine hosting is for people who don’t want to look into technical aspects and simply want to focus on their business or their blog.
Their manner of pricing is overkill for a normal end-user like me, and most likely, for you as well.
They could have very easily integrated CloudFlare with their hosting service, or at least have integrated a measure of stopping bad bots from eating their customers’ money, but apparently, they are a money-hungry company and they do not have their customers’ best interests at heart.
There is more to it…
When you are paying over $250/month to a web hosting company, you expect to have priority and premium support. Even a low-budget hosting company like Bluehost (which costs only $6.95/month) offers round-the-clock support over live chat and phone.
WPEngine does not offer live chat support around the clock, and in general, I have not found their support to be of “high-quality” at all.
Matthew Woodward has shared his story in this detailed post which is definitely worth a read.
Here is the summary of his WPEngine review:
No Root access/disallowed plugins:
WPEngine does not offer root access, and their list of disallowed plugins is baseless.
A plugin like Broken Link Checker, one of the best plugins for WordPress blogs for the purpose of checking broken links, is not allowed!
Having created an alternate solution, WPEngine has disallowed Broken Link Checker.
They do offer alternative solutions like Integrity and a few others, but they all are desktop-based solutions and require a lot of manual work to fix broken links.
Conclusion of my WPEngine review:
When it comes to quality of hosting, WPEngine can provide decent hosting which can handle a memory-hogging WordPress blog most of the time.
But when it comes to pricing:
- They are DEFINITELY not worth the cost.
In 13 month’s time, I paid $4,621 to host ShoutMeLoud, which is completely not worth the investment.
I could have done the same with a much better host for $1,500.
Here is the screenshot of my paid invoice (notice the extra charges in April thru September):
I would only recommend WPEngine hosting to business WordPress sites or blogs with traffic requirements of no more than 25k visits per month.
If you do decide to use WPEngine’s hosting services, be sure to also use CloudFlare, otherwise you will be paying significant overage charges.
This overage thing is such a disappointing issue. Not only did it cause me to stop using WPEngine, it’s left me with little respect for the company.
For medium and high-traffic blogs, stay away from WPEngine as it is just not worth it.
This is my personal review of WPEngine. I have shared everything I’ve learned from working with them for a year. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if you should host your WordPress blog on WPEngine or not.
If you are a WPEngine customer and would like to share your story and experience, I would love to hear from you in the comments section below.
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