This is not so much of a review, but more of how I came to a decision on WPEngine.
At $29/ month for the Personal plan I would not have even looked at WPEngine a year ago. Why pay that much for hosting when you can find $5/month hosting around every corner? Updates? I can do that. Caching? Backups? check and check. What does WPEngine have to offer?
While in the proposal stage of acquiring a new client, this client got hacked. Luckily to fix the hack WordPress just need to be upgraded. But instead of redesigning the site, the top priority became finding a new host that offers better security. This client was on a reputable host, so $5/month hosting like HostGator or GoDaddy would not satisfy the client’s peace of mind.
My favorite WordPress focused company, WooThemes, had a recommended hosts page. Among the hosts were Pressable (previously known as ZippyKid ) and WPEngine. Pressable was the cheaper of the two offering SSL and CDN on their cheapest plan. As ZippyKid they also touted having great security as a selling point. However, as Pressable, they had no info whatsoever about their security. Not even their “malware scanning”! So wait, how can we justify to the client that Pressable is any better than their previous host? Crap! (I know no host is hack-proof, but we gotta have a reason for choosing a specific host).
Enter research into WPEngine. The first thing I did on their website was search for “security” in their blog. What surprised me was the amount of posts on their blog about security. Do a search on security on their site and you’ll see what I mean. Not only do they talk about recent security issues, but how the community is dealing with security issues and details on how their security system and processes are protecting their clients. That in itself gave me peace of mind that these guys prioritize security. The icing on the cake was reading “WordPress Hacked? We’ll fix it free!“.
Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side
I usually have buyers remorse especially when I could have gotten something cheaper and don’t really utilize all the features I have purchased. But last year, before I tried WPEngine, I had a client that didn’t have a website yet, needed SSL and was OK with spending some money on quality hosting. So I went with Pressable with this previous client (especially since the Personal plan at WPEngine doesn’t support SSL). I have since migrated this client to WPEngine. Below are some comparisons between Pressable and WPEngine (as of this posting).
Pressable vs WPEngine
- WPEngine – At the click of a button, free. Also automatically scheduled daily for you.
- Pressable – Inactive by default. Need to back up to Amazon or Rackspace. (in other words, not exactly free).
- Domain settings
- WPEngine – Doesn’t handle email or any of your domain settings
- Pressable – If you want, you can direct your nameservers to Pressable and they can adjust your domain settings (like where to point your email) for you.
- Git Support
- WPEngine – Deploy your website using git ( i haven’t tried this yet)
- Pressable – None.
- Error Logs
- WPEngine – View your php error logs from the User Portal
- Pressable – None.
- WPEngine – Visits and Bandwidth stats for you to monitor and download.
- Pressable – None.
- WPEngine – I have tested about a dozen different websites so far and all have a load time of less than 1 second from within the US.
- Pressable – I have tested one website on here and the load time is above 2.5 seconds.
Both Pressable and WPEngine are great, but dollar for dollar WPEngine seems much more worth it. If you have multiple clients, the Professional Plan makes it hands down worth it since you can install SSL and use a CDN for free. Each install breaks down to $10/month. You may be thinking you can do caching, and backups on your own, but what if something goes wrong with those plugins? How many times have you actually restored a backup from that plugin? How many times have you fixed a hack or prevented one? How much is a peaceful mind worth? WPEngine can handle all this for you.
Happily Ever After
As you know, I didn’t go to WPEngine because of the speed, but I was curious to see what differences it could make by simply moving a site over. I was pleasantly surprised to see the site loaded almost 40% faster. And believe me, it’s noticeable for this particular site.
To get a more accurate reading of the speed changes you should sign up for a free account at Pingdom and monitor your website for a week or so. Then sign up to WPEngine (60 day free trial) and again try it at pingdom. If you’re not happy with the results you can always back out of WPEngine.
Update: More on Security
After using WPEngine for about 6 months I am fully satisfied with the security on WPEngine for WordPress websites. WPEngine stays on top of plugin vulnerabilities and they scan your installation daily. here are some examples:
- TimThumb script: If you install a theme or plugin with the TimThumb script (a popular PHP script used to resize images known for having some huge vulnerabilities in the past) WPEngine will detect what version it is, and if it’s not the newest version, they will automatically update it.
- JetPack plugin: Jetpack recently had a vulnerability in their email sharing feature. WPEngine was on top of it notified their customers of it while disabling that feature for them.
Also, WPEngine hosting is secure enough to be PCI compliant “as long as no payment card data is stored, hosted, or otherwise processed by WP Engine…”. See more at WPEngine and PCI Compliance
WPEngine now offers a tool to test the speed of your website.
2019 Update: New Competition
WPEngine still offers all these features, except there are faster, cheaper hosts available now. They offer just about all features listed on the page here. See what’s new.
Disclaimer: I have become a WPEngine affiliate because I do believe in their product. Links to WPEngine on this site are probably affiliate links.