WPEngine Review 2020: One WordPress Engine You Should Never Drive

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we recommended. Read more about Affiliate disclosure here.

WPEngine Review
  • Save

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.

  • Save

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
  • Save

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
  • Save

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
  • Save

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

WPEngine overage
  • Save

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
  • Save

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
  • Save

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
  • Save

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:

Subscribe on YouTube

  • Save
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. Siraj Mahmood

    Hello @Harsh Agrawal
    I heard your story or reviews and felt so panic about wp engine hosting service and customer support. According to my perspective,$250/month is a shit hosting package, Because its a much amount for a blogger. On the other hand side, World best hosting company hostgator offer pro dedicated server which worth is 300$ but they have legit charges and facilitate his user with appropriate service and customer support 24/7/365. After listed your story, there is no love with wp engine. I suggest you, Choose top hosting companies service like hostgator, bluehost, ipage, etc neither that these third party companies.

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us 🙂
    Regards:
    Siraj Mahmood

  2. This review is indeed helpful for newbies who want to be aware of web hosting head aches. Your experience will help others to stay away from WPEngine. These big web hosting companies are making big bucks only due to huge advertising budgets / affiliate commissions and a slight good will they have earned over the period of time. However in my experience a small web hosting company pays more attention to its customers in every case, either it be support tickets or technical issues.

    I was fan of HostGator personally, but their services have gone nuts and they do overcharge, once your first coupon term is over with them. BlueHost’s parent company is same as of HostGator, however they are still much better in terms of customer support and their servers do not seem to be overfilled.

    1. Harsh Agrawal

      @Hasan

      My only complaint with WPEngine is their pricing policy as they charge users based on visits which is so 90’s stuff. Rest they almost offer what they have written on the site. It was mostly my mistake of trying a new hosting company but that’s the fun part of blogging, you try, share and learn! Thanks for dropping by and for your comment.

      1. Here’s a hint for anyone not familiar with hosting: run away from any host that charges based on visits!

        hosts should charge for resources provided to you and used by you (like RAM, CPU, customer support, bandwidth, uptime, etc.)

        why? because a host’s business is to keep and deliver copies of your site. each ‘visit’ or request for a page from a site is not equivalent to another ‘visit’ or request for a page from another site.

        one site might have a very optimized and small page, for example, 200Kb while another site might serve a page that is really heavy like 800Kb.

        according to ‘hosts’ that charge based on visits, each of those two visits counts the same, as 1 resource usage.

        however the first page used much less resources than the second. hosting and sending a 200Kb page =/= hosting and sending a 800Kb page

        if you see a host, like wpengine, price this way you should know right away that they either do not know what the bleep they are doing or they do and are trying to attract the least knowledgeable and most vulnerable clientele so they can overcharge them (not surprisingly most of these types of clients also have very low traffic sites so charging per visit is a great way to squeeze more money out of them for the least resources provided in return)

        either way, run way! there are soooooooooo many amazing, affordable hosts out there that you should not waste your time with over priced, poorly managed hosts like wpengine

        the competition in hosting is cut-throat but of course, it requires that you be at least a little bit of an informed consumer and actually shop around

  3. Interesting to read for once a critical review of WPEngine – there are so many noisy affiliate postings out there that any review like yours gets almost lost. Whenever I looked into their pricing structure I always considered it to be “over the top”. Lucky for me they would not take our site because I have old non-WP-pages in root – our archive dating back to 2006, when WP was still in its infancy.

    1. Harsh Agrawal

      @Juregen
      I’m on the same page with your thoughts here. Biggest dilemma with online review is; they are written by people who have never used the product or never experienced it. Ultimately price is being paid by an end user like you and me, who ended up spending hard-earned money on below average products.

  4. I tried WP Engine for a few of my websites about a year ago. I wasn’t impressed with the performance, which I found just average. I ended up going with a VPS server on A Small Orange and I’m very satisfied. I have the performance and flexibility I need, and A Small Orange has the best customer service / support I’ve found of any company so far. So, if anyone’s looking for an alternative to WP Engine, give ASO a look. 😉

    js.

    1. Harsh Agrawal

      @JS
      Thanks for your comment and I agree with your point on they are average hosting especially when you compare the hosting quality with the price we are paying. I heard not so good stuff about A Small orange lately.

  5. Hi Harsh .. hope you are doing great ..
    remember i commented on your review of WPEngine ( https://www.shoutmeloud.com/wordpress-migration-experience-with-wpengine-hosting.html ) and told you it was not good, I had all those pains myself and opted out in less then 3-4 months .. I took the highest premium plan it was $600 monthly and i was disappointed a big time. I have changed tons of hosting services in my blogging career till now.

    anyways .. are you changing host now? which one is it?

    1. Harsh Agrawal

      @Jaspal
      I remember your comment but I really wanted to try WPEngine to see and get a hitch of managed WordPress hosting. So far I have learned Managed WordPress hosting are for completely technically challenged people and companies like WPEngine will keep growing because they are giving solution to a particular demographic of people.

      Now I’m on Kinsta hosting. So far, I have loved the interface and quality of Kinsta. They have live support too and at this time they are into growing stage, but I see them as a great hosting company for future. Probably because they simplifying hosting on cloud server.

      1. Brian Jackson

        I wouldn’t totally agree with this Harsh… “Managed WordPress hosting are for completely technically challenged people”

        I used to run a webhosting company myself back in highschool. Managed WordPress hosting is also for those that don’t have time to mess with things like Apache going down, etc. I have a full time job and the reason I pay a premium for WordPress managed hosting is so I don’t have to waste time on this. When I sit down to actually blog I want to do only that, not be troubleshooting CPU spikes.

        Now am I a big of WP Engine? Yes and no. I love the speed, but I agree with you on the overage charges and that is why I am currently migrating to Kinsta. They don’t charge by visitors (which I agree is completely ridiculous).

        WP Engine better seriously consider their pricing model or I think they are going start losing a lot more business.

        1. Harsh Agrawal

          @Brian
          My bad here as I missed adding “busy people” in the list and that’s one of the reason I was stuck with them. Similar to you, I wanted to focus more on other things rather than handling WordPress issues and was enjoying their services. I was still ok with the price until they started imposing that overage charges which sometime was actually more than the monthly pricing.

  6. Hi Harsh,

    You are right, that WPEngine don’t provide live chat. I used WPEngine for a month and I am not impressed with it. Why anyone pay $29/mo for backups and cache, when they can get the backups at $5/mo from VaultPress and caching for free.

    And the worst part is that they charge on the basis of pageviews. A $10/mo HostGator plan is more powerful than the $29/mo WPEngine plan.

    1. Harsh Agrawal

      @Rajiv
      You are right and as I mentioned, WPEngine is for those business people who have zero tech skills and they just want to be on a platform where they don’t need to worry about security, caching or other stuff like WordPress update. It may not be a fit for semi-geek like me or geek like you, as we can manage all these stuff of our own.

  7. wow, what?!? an average of $355 a month!? for mediocre to lousy hosting?

    holy cow!

    for a QUARTER of that you can get a blazing fast vps ssd fully managed hosting service where you get the white glove treatment so you don’t have to lift a finger to optimize, manage and keep your server safe… and still have more ram and cpu power than wpengine.

    if you insist on paying $355 a month you can get a **dedicated machine** fully managed hosting service with a massive amount of RAM and cpu power that will blow wpengine out of the water!

    just shocked hosts can get away with charging so much for so little when there is so much competition out there. wpengine pricing is simply put insane and it would still be insane if they provided the best service out there because it would still be overpriced by a factor of 4-5 times.

    do people not comparison shop or use google before choosing a host? don’t really get it :/

    1. Harsh Agrawal

      @Robin
      I totally get your sentiments here and I also would have thought the same for somebody else. The thing is, I wanted to try managed WordPress hosting as I was reading some ravishing reviews about them and guess what; now you and everyone knows the end result.

    1. Harsh Agrawal

      @Daniel
      Sure I would share my review and experience after some time, let me first get the hang of it. 🙂

  8. As I have said in the past, hosting in terms of no of visitor count is pathetic. I can understand in terms of shared hosting but for managed with huge price, its just not worth it.

    I just love DO for this matter. Its not managed though. Thats where cloudways appears to be better ( only time will tell).

    btw harsh, ANy reason why you opted for Amazon and not digital ocean in cloudways as DO is much cost effective

    1. Harsh Agrawal

      @Ankur
      I opted for Amazon as I was more comfortable with them as a brand. DigitalOcean is great too, but I guess I’m good with Amazon for now. I will be moving my small WordPress sites to their DO servers and lets see.

    1. Harsh Agrawal

      @Ajinkya
      Bluehost managed WordPress hosting is at infant stage and I signed up for them and even paid for the first month, but couldn’t move to them. I didn’t find any special feature in their cPanel (It’s same as shared hosting one) and I decided to skip them.

  9. Niraj Kashyap

    Auuhh! Its like wpengine Sucks!
    I could pretty say i right thing that it took so long for harsh to realise it, & paid extra billings. Pretty deep for his pockets. 🙁

    I think the better would be using Amazon {CDN} or choose a good hosting with top level resources & opt for maxcdn.

    Opting for maxcdn is pretty cool as it loads your files from the nearest server with cookie-less & reliably fast.

    Thanks
    Niraj Kashyap
    Tricks2Blogging

  10. I’m with WP Engine and service has been very good. But I do have some concerns with visitor counting.
    Can you elaborate on the package you purchased on Cloudways with the specific sever options you decided to go with. Thank you for the very informative post.

      1. Harsh Agrawal

        I missed mentioning about the coupon. You can use coupon code “ShoutMeLoud” to get $20 off when you signup for package of 1GB or more.

        1. Thanks Harsh,

          I’m giving Cloudways’ free 30 day trial a test run. I moved two websites to Cloudways from WPEngine. Performance is as good and mostly better, using website speed testing tools.

          If I just went with Cloudways 1GB plan on Digital Ocean, my monthly server cost would be reduced to $15US from $99US.

          That’s significant savings, however, I will go with a plan that offers more server resources, which in turn will result in even better performance.

          WPEngine is a fantastic worry free service, but their pricing scheme will eventually result in increased costs, with little or no increased performance.

          Eventually WPEengine will have to respond to the competition with a more efficient pricing model.

          1. I think the WPEngine $99 plan is excellent value for smaller users.

            I got no problem with the “visits” model. You look at those who use a traditional one and see how expensive they are! E.g. Web Synthesis.

            But the jump from $99 to $250 is just plain stupid. They need a $150 plan that gives say 300,000 visits with 10 sites.

            I’m not sure that WPEngine’s plans suit those with tonnes of traffic.

  11. I don’t know Harsh , why you invest this much on hosting. I understand your busy schedule but I have been happy with shared environment with traffic that surpasses 1 lakh visits in a single day , hard to believe but it is true. Also i have 30+ Plugins on my blog. I must say your blog is overloaded with scripts and if you minify with the help of an expert , you can enjoy the shared hosting 😀

    1. Harsh Agrawal

      @Navneet
      There were multiple reasons and when I was on shared hosting, I was facing frequent down-time. I also moved to VPS and my own managed VPS hosting. One thing which I learned about doing online business is, your site should never be down. You never know how much you can lose in 1 second of down-time. More over, I was eager to try managed WordPress hosting so that I can learn something new and write a detailed review like this after trying.

  12. Harsh,

    I would have to disagree with your review, although it is very detailed and helpful.

    I have used WP Engine almost since it was first launched. While it has definitely lost some of its touch from before, it is still the best option for managed WordPress hosting. The customer support is worth the $29/month alone. If you have a WordPress related website and need a question answered, they are there to help.

    Furthermore, their servers are about 100 times faster than those of a shared web host.

    1. Harsh Agrawal

      @Rijalda
      I agree that their hosting quality is par excellent & it should be, since it’s a WordPress only hosting. The problem with them is the way they charge. For a normal low traffic WordPress blog, it’s good, but when you are dealing with traffic in millions, it’s not worth having.

    2. I have hosted with WPEngine since they first started.

      The problem i see is that they can charge whatever they want if you add your credit card and there’s nothing you can do about it especially if you’re in another country.

      This is the reason they take down customer sites that don’t give them their credit card number, to force them to give it so they can make more money dishonestly.

  13. Thomas Zickell

    I definitely sympathize with you.
    I agree with Brian Jackson Kinsta might be the best way to go. There also a company I use and I find them much better than WPE

    As somebody who’s used WPEngine and many more managed WordPress hosting companies I do think it’s odd that they separate themselves in this manner.

    I also believe that Cloudflare is not an effective method of stopping bots Sucuri WAF is great.
    Incapsula offers it in their free plan.
    still Networks is the most effective bot prevention method.

    If you slap a $10 a month Sucuri WAF, your bots will be reduced to a comfortable level.

    The fact that WPengine a company that was using Linode now using RackSpace charges for things that hosting companies expect and should factor into their pricing before telling people to visit is something as complex as what you were shown.

    I like the companies, I’ve listed below’s method of what a visit is defined as unique IP address per a 24 hour period (all bots are not even counted as visits they should never be counted as visits) other than those companies that offer unlimited visits Like Page.ly & Kinsta do well in their VPS forms or Presslabs $10 per 100,000 visits.

    Personally, I have used all of these companies and currently have accounts with all of these companies Page.ly VPS Unlimited visits, Kinsta VPS Unlimited visits, Presslabs $10 per 100,000 visits, Pantheon business, Get Flywheel Agency is only $250 for 600,000 monthly visits

    “Our system is counting every load of a page from your site, no matter if you are logged-in or not into the WordPress dashboard. We use JavaScript for this, therefore bots, crawlers, and static resources aren’t counted. You only pay for the people reading your content or working on your content. Our measurements are very close to Google Analytics and other similar services. Check the Stats menu from your Presslabs Dashboard. More information in the Payments section.”

    Get Flywheel A visit is a unique IP address in a 24 hour period. This is a soft limit, we will never shut off your site if you go over.”

    I believe the cost of hosting websites is going to be high if you’re going to be using a quality web host. Disclaimer most of my hosting is done on FireHost & Pagely. FireHost is amazing but not cheap.

    I think you will be happiest on based on the fee of $250 a month

    Pagely Ultimate or with the idea of paying a bit more in knowing what you’re getting

    Pagely VPS-1 unlimited visits at $400 a month,

    Kinsta My Business at $287mo unlimited visits.

    Presslabs $150 plan $10 per 100,000 visits,
    Get Flywheel Agency is only $250 for 600,000 monthly visits

    Pantheon Business plan 500,000 visits $400 a month

  14. We had a lot of problems with WPE. Support staff answering many tickets at the same time and if back, they don’t remember how they can help. Even more. They have deleted a domain and the website was offline 4 days because nobody care about the open ticket faster. If I select in ticket form ‘urgent’ – what it means? They have time to answer the ticket in 48 hours?
    However. We’ve no hassle-free managed WP hosting with WPE, we have a lot of stress. As a Swiss company we can not accept such poor service.

    The rudest I have experienced with WPE, no excuse not faster solution – nada. So bye bye WPE, welcome MT.

  15. Hey Harsh,

    What a lot of new webmasters don’t understand is that shared plans are great, but only support so much. For example, whenever you start using to much CPU usage, RAM, or your indone limit exceeds their expectations they will suspend your shared hosting account. Obviously, your not a newbie, though 🙂

    I can respect an honest review on WP Engine on your end; $250/month and then $223 for overage charges; that is more than most dedicated servers cost per month! I was unaware of how they counted a visit; seems like they are quite different.

    I have read various post that have mixed feelings about their customer support. Some say they are excellent while others state that they are not very good and are certainly not premium customer support.

    But, what I find appalling is no one from WP Engine even decided to take the time and leave you a comment on your blog. Kind of sad; and you paid them almost $5,000. They can’t even take 10 minutes out of their day to drop by and leave you a comment?

    Garen Arnold

  16. I’ve been hosting with WPEngine since they started and the speed has been consistantly excellent however, the staff attitude has been very patchy. Some good and some horrible.

    The bottom line is i don’t trust WPEngine.

    While i love the speed, i don’t like it when they try and make up reasons to get me to pay more money. I would never add my credit card which they have aggressively tried to get me to add on numerous occasions and even gone to the trouble to take my site down to force me to add my credit card, in my opinion so they can charge me more money.

    As a non American, i would be never add my credit card as i know they will make any excuse to take more money.

    On top of this, i suspect they have allowed staff to illegally access my site and they don’t have any system in place to monitor or prevent this from happening.

    I’m currently looking at DreanHosts managed hosting however i would really prefer a non U.S managed hosting provider.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]
Share via
Copy link