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I’ve been building and hosting websites since 2008, since the very beginning of my career. While trained as a front end web developer and technical writer in university, I had to learn the ropes of web hosting, servers, and more simply through trial, error, a lot of downtime, and a few wins along the way.

I’ve used many hosts:

I started off my hosting adventures with Bluehost, then when they had reliability and site speed issues I moved over to Dreamhost.

In early 2016, however, my business was starting to grow and I was completely unwilling to keep my main site (this one, Credo) on a host that had some reliability issues. While price is absolutely a consideration when it comes to hosting your sites, when your website is making you money you begin to care a lot less about the outright cost and a lot more about reliability.

Here’s my review of WPengine. You can jump to the different sections:

Reliability

WPengine is the most reliable web host I have ever been on for WordPress. Why? Because they specialize. WPengine is optimized for WordPress and that’s all they do.

The other hosts I’ve been on are shared hosting and they do not restrict the sites that you are on at all. While on the surface this sounds like a great idea, in reality it is not because it means many different content management systems (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, etc) can be hosted on the same server that is not really optimized for any of them.

Also, the other two hosts do not restrict the plugins you can use. While this also seems like a good thing, in reality there are a lot of bad plugins out there that slow down sites or can do bad things to the server, while often causes all the sites to be slow.

WPengine restricts certain select plugins from being used because WPengine a) has their own versions of these that work extremely well, and b) these plugins can cause problems at scale.

Because of all of this, WPengine has over 99.9% uptime.  But if you are concerned that your site might be down, you can always check their status page.

Support

WPengine’s support team is second to none. Even if you are very experienced setting up hosting environments and hosting sites, sometimes you need to understand how a specific system works or how to configure something specific.

In these cases, you need a rockstar support team to help you out. I’ve used them to:

  1. Diagnose a plugin issue;
  2. Switch over to their CDN;
  3. Switch to HTTPS from HTTP;
  4. Refresh my site’s cache.

Speed

WPengine has some of the best caching I have ever seen, and this is because they specialize in WordPress. WordPress (unfortunately) has some flaws that hurt its speed, and because it is so customizable with so many plugins anyone operating a WordPress site can slow it down as well.

While you can put in a lot of work to help your site load faster (using plugins like Autoptimize helps too) and I do recommend you do this at some point, WordPress has built-in caching that helps your site load as fast as possible even if it’s not optimized well and is running too many plugins (like mine).

This is precisely why WPengine doesn’t allow other caching plugins since they will often conflict with WPengine’s own. WPengine’s caching does mean that if you make a live change then you will have to clear your site’s cache in order to make the change take effect.

But that’s a small price to pay for a fast site.

If you need to test your site’s speed, you can always use their website speed testing tool as well.

Backups

While a lot of hosts will upsell you to nightly backups (and at specific times when you have a release), WPengine includes this with every plan and every install.

This feature is a large reason why I switched to WPengine even though it’s more expensive than all the others. Besides the fact that I could trust them to have solid uptime and take care of many of my speed issues, I was terrified that my site would go down, lose all my data, and I’d lose my business.

Their backups allow you to back up both production and staging, which is super helpful when you’re developing new features on staging before you push to production.

Staging environment

Another major reason to use WPengine, and another major reason why I switched, is their Staging environment feature. This feature allows you to develop new features, or test new plugins, before rolling them into production.

It’s super easy to push your site from production to staging, where you can test new features/plugins, before rolling them live to your production.

I will say that WPengine’s staging environment works very well for developing new features, but the features to push the new features (and only the new features) to production.

This is my largest gripe with WPengine in fact. While it works great for testing new things without developing live on production, I do recommend using an SFTP option like FileZilla to push the new features live.

Ease of setup

As far as setup goes, WPengine is extremely simple to set up. If you’re using a registrar like Name.com, then you can easily connect your domain to WPengine with their nameservers:

This is a fairly standard implementation for connecting your domain to your web host and WPengine gives you the nameservers where you should point your domain.

Easy peasy. If you have issues, you can always get WPengine support on the line.

WPengine Plans and Pricing

As of March 1, 2018 these are WPengine’s plans.

STARTUP PLAN GROWTH PLAN SCALE PLAN
$35 USD*/month 
2 months free
with annual payment plan
$115 USD*/month 
2 months free
with annual payment plan
$290 USD*/month 
2 months free
with annual payment plan
1 site
3 environments/site
25K visitors/month
CDN – included
SSL certificates – included
Page Performance – included
Auto-migration – included
Additional sites available
Powerful add-ons available
5 sites
3 environments/site (15 total)
100K visitors/month
CDN – included
SSL certificates – included
Page Performance – included
Auto-migration – included
Additional sites available
Powerful add-ons available
15 sites
3 environments/site (45 total)
400K visitors/month
CDN – included
SSL certificates – included
Page Performance – included
Auto-migration – included
Additional sites available
Powerful add-ons available
Included for Existing Customers: 
5 free sites for a total of 10 sites when you move to the Growth plan
Multisite – included
Included for Existing Customers: 
10 free sites for a total of 25 sites when you move to the Scale plan
GeoTarget, Content Performance, and Multisite – included

Does Credo recommend WPengine?

Credo and I absolutely recommend WPengine. They are my trusted host and partner and we recommend them highly if you are running a business or a website from which you make money.

Note: some links in this post are affiliate links, meaning we may be compensated if you sign up for a product using our link. We only recommend products that we personally use and love!

Looking for tool and book recommendations?

Sometimes the hardest part of growing your company is finding the right tools to use to execute on your strategies. Tools are a dime a dozen, but the right tool for the job is hard to find.

Check out our recommendations for lead generation and SEO tools as well as the books we recommend reading as you grow your business.

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