WPEngine Review 2020: One WordPress Engine You Should Never Drive

WPEngine Review
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It’s no 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 SiteGround 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.

In the past, I have tried various hosting companies such as SiteGround, Cloudways, Kinsta and a few others.

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:

Blogging.

This is when I learned about best managed WordPress Hosting, and I stumbled upon WPEngine.

With the collection of features offered, and the complete “hassle-free hosting” available for WordPress, I decided to sign up and pay $290/month for their hosting services.

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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:

  • Time is money.

My Review of WPEngine, and what made me ditch the service for good:

Following a lot of research and making the decision to pay that hefty $290/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.

Seriously?

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”:

WPEngine pricing policy
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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:

WPEngine business plan
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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:

Google Analytics August stats
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Now let’s have a look at the stats from WPEngine for the same time period:

WPEngine overage
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Also, take note of the following message:

  • “This shows how many visits you are receiving across pages, feeds and static assets (images, JavaScript files, CSS files, etc.). A visitor to your site may access one, two or all three types, but we will only count that as one visit in your overall visitor count. However the breakdown in this section will show you if you are receiving a disproportionate amount of access to your RSS Feeds, or to your images due to hotlinking or their embed in a 3rd party website or email campaign. WP Engine does not charge for visits that have only hit favicon.ico or robots.txt.”

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.”

Static referrers WPEngine
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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:

Matthew WordPress Engine review
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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.

The conclusion of my WPEngine Hosting 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):

My WPEngine Invoices
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I would only recommend WPEngine hosting to business WordPress sites or blogs with low traffic requirements.

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.

I have recently found Kinsta or WPXHosting to be a better hosting than WPEngine in terms of pricing and offering.

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.

If you find the information in this post useful, please share it with your friends and colleagues on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

For further reading:

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Authored By
A Blogger, Author and a speaker! Harsh Agrawal is recognized as a leader in digital marketing and FinTech space. Fountainhead of ShoutMeLoud, and a Speaker at ASW, Hero Mindmine, Inorbit, IBM, India blockchain summit. Also, an award-winning blogger.

63 thoughts on “WPEngine Review 2020: One WordPress Engine You Should Never Drive”

  1. I’ve been with WPEngine for a few years, on the $99 a month plan, and seen them deteriorate especially in the customer service section over this time. You are so right, not having a 24hour support system in place in this day and age is crazy. I was stuck on a yearly subscription with them and this month it comes to an end, and I am looking to move, problem is finding an alternative that isn’t so pricey, What I liked about WPEngine was the staging area and that I could host 10 sites for $99 a month (compared to Kinsta which only allows 1 site), any suggestions for another managed hosting alternative?

  2. Although paying much to their affiliates, hosting fees based on traffic is not perfect for blogger who are new. $250/Mo
    Quite High.

  3. I appreciate the detailed review. I was thinking about WPEngine, but at this point I am happy I did not bite.

    I am sorry for the outrageous charges put on you.

  4. Thanks Harsh for taking the time to write this very honest review on WP Engine. I am glad I found your site because I was thinking of trying them out, but it’s obviously highway robbery and terrible that they would over charge you like that. Something that sounds to good to be true is NOT. I will definitely avoid them.

  5. WP Engine is great. It’s one of the best Managed WordPress out there. It is pricey but you get what you pay for. They offer the best support, WP features like staging and caching, and easy backup/restore.

    The only downside is that they don’t offer IonCube on their new PHP 7. This should be the basics and something they should have considered when they installed PHP 7 on their site.

  6. they inserted links to mattew woodward blog footer without any permission….
    also this much traffic can be easily handled by linode 20$ server….linode is the company from which wpengine buy all the servers…it needs only one time setup and then you would not face any problem…also thanks to serverpilot and free panels like virtaulmin and webuzero etc, you are not required to buy 25$ pr month cpanel licence which consume much server sources….what i do is, i buy a server from linode and set it up via serverpilot..along with it i use filezilla for uploading files etc and putty for zip, unzip and upload and download database….in 10 min i transfer the site to linode and then there is not any single problem…i am using this from 5-6 months and not event a single downtime…

  7. Smartest Varun

    Lol! I usually consider some bloggers as the standard whenever I plan to choose some plugins or web hosting plan. I was shocked when I saw your site hosted on WPengine.

    Initially I thought what?
    Is he crazy?

    I thought of informing you or asking you about why are you even using such a costly host as you could spend the same money on hosting plus CDN’s.

    But then I thought, he always learns from his mistakes and one fine day I could read a review on WPengine. And there you go, I finally got an honest review of WPengine. I would never give it a try or I would. Coz a host which charges 300$ plus for less than a terabyte bandwidth is a bullshit company.
    People aren’t fools to host their site with such a company when what they offer is nothing new or innovative.
    And WPengine is still not a good choice as a business or enterprise host. Liquidweb is!
    And WPengine stands nowhere when it comes to Liquidweb features. Anyway, hope you get a better reasonable host this time

    1. @Varun
      I usually believe in testing & trying out yourself before commenting. When I saw WPEngine pricing, it felt pricey but I really wanted to find out what all is under the hood. Glad I tried it & now I have a fair knowledge about managed WordPress hosting. I haven’t heard great things about LiquidWeb until now. May be they are good from server perspective but I can’t really say the same for hosting WordPress based sites.

  8. Thanks Harsh for sharing your experience with WPEngine. I’ve read so many positive reviews about it and was thinking to use it for my blog until now.

  9. Thanks for giving your honest review. I’m about moving to WPengine and now i don’t think i will. I have a news blog and i can’t afford all the extra payments when a news goes viral.

  10. I’ve used several hosting companies over the last 15 years. (Hostgator, VPS.net, LiquidWeb, StormOnDemand, and a couple others that lasted less than a week).

    Honourable mention: Storm on Demand was awesome. I really love that company and their products and services. But I wanted some speed and efficiency improvements that WP Engine was offering (which Storm wasn’t at the time)… so I made the switch to WP Engine. I’ve been with WPEngine for the last three years.

    My experience has been great and I’m very happy with them. I have a PRO account (10 sites), plus several of my design clients hosted on PERSONAL accounts. Billing has been as expected. But none of the sites are extremely high-traffic.

    Support? I was a 100% satisfied until about a year ago (Feb 2017) I had one of the most terrible support chats/scenarios I’ve ever had with an agent who just didn’t seem to know what I was talking about or even how the WP Engine system worked? I was baffled. I tweeted to WP Engine and the issue was resolved quickly by them. They apologized for the poor support chat I’d had. I’m ok with that. Everyone has off days. They got me sorted out and seemed sincerely interested in maintaining a good client relationship with me. Since that experience… it’s been reliable, and once again – consistently good support.

    As a designer who looks after my client sites for them, WP Engine saves me a tonne of time. Their staging servers work beautifully. Though I have a habit of running “Better Search and Replace” after each transfer, because there’s been a couple of times when the staging URLs were not updated correctly after transferring from Staging to Production.

    Setting up SSL takes no time at all (and is free).
    The Redirect tool is excellent.
    And the fact I can log into my account and access all of my client sites instantly, to manage their hosting (when needed) – well, it makes my job as a designer/front-end dev just a little less complicated.

    All in all, I’m happy with WP Engine.

  11. Thanks for the review. After getting ridiculous answers from there support guys, we decided as a (120M) company to leave them and find a better hosting.

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