Disappointed After Revisiting My WPEngine Review

This morning I woke up, and as I do most mornings, I browsed through my blog comments. I have to say this is one of my absolute favorite things about having a blog, while I’m sleeping, my blog is still growing. This morning I noticed that my review of WPEngine was still getting comments as recently as Saturday. I looked and the post had twenty comments, most of which were complaints from unhappy ex WPEngine customers and responses from WPEngine. The comments got pretty harsh as my post turned-into a public forum for people to complain about WPEngine.

In my post I talked about why I had decided to go with Zippy Kid rather than WPEngine. My issue was around a specific experience that I had, but I was very open-minded that the company could definitely turn things around in the future. As someone who has launched many web businesses I know how hard it can be to please everyone. I also know that it takes years to perfect something and building a software platform and a business take time. I also know many happy WPEngine customers who are very successful people, running very successful companies.

So I was a bit disappointed to see people really ragging on WPEngine in my comment section. Poor Ben (from WPEngine) was keeping up with the comments and doing his best to explain what happened in some of the situations described. In one case one of the commenters verbally abused the WPEngine technical support staff with the following being said in an email:


I have edited out the F word in this excerpt but I have to say this is incredibly disappointing to see. I’ve never understood what makes people think they can treat other people like crap period, but I have not respect for it when the person being treated poorly probably has nothing to do with it. At a startup like WPEngine, their support staff are real people, in fact, they are passionate entrepreneurs who are taking a risk and working hard. Nothing works perfectly and while I was disappointed with my WPEngine experience that NEVER gives me or anyone else the right to treat them like crap.

However this does make me think…what an angry person you’d have to be to send an email like this to someone you don’t really know. How sure are you that the person responding to the email even has anything to do with the problem you had, in many cases they are just there to help, they didn’t create the problem!

I see this happen at the airport just about every week (yes I fly a lot!). A few weeks ago I was leaving New York City and my flight was delayed due to weather. Most people approaching the gate agent were polite, they understood the situation and just wanted to get things worked out as best as possible. However I’d say about 5% of the group got very angry, and this anger was directed at the gate agent. Just to be clear, the gate agent does not control the weather, nor does the gate agent make major policies for an airline or control how your past experiences have gone. I heard people approach the agent and say things like:

“Every time I fly your F&*king airline this happens, why can’t you guys just make your flight times!”

Are people actually so stupid that they think the gate agents are in high-level strategy meetings about improving airline efficiency? Also, do you know that the person you are talking to is probably someone’s Mom and someone’s loving wife? However there are people in the world who are angry, it’s not the situation they are unhappy with, it is their own life.

Now I’ll level with you – I don’t give a shit how bad your life is, treat other people with respect, period. If your life sucks, do something about it, have a job you hate? Do something else. Have a bad relationship? Get therapy. Tooth problems? Go to a better dentist.

There is no excuse for treating other people like crap, but doing so does show a lot about yourself and how you value other people. Killing the messenger does not solve your problem, instead you just take your anger out on someone who is trying to help you. In so many cases it is the people working in technical support and customer service that end up taking the bulk of the abuse when their jobs do not involve any strategic decision making for the company they are working for.

In this case though the CEO of WPEngine, Ben Metcalfe has hopped on and helped to provide a context to some of these issues. He was very responsive to my issue and getting a response from the CEO of company is a great sign. Let me know the last time you complained about one of the airlines and had anyone with decision-making power actually get back to you? As a startup you are inherently doing something new, great things take time to become great, and it takes great people to do it. As I said in my original post, I think WPEngine has some real all stars and there is great potential. I might not use this service right now, but that does not mean that I won’t use it in the future. On top of that, it is important to understand that the company does have many happy users, unfortunately the unhappy can often be the most vocal.

Last, but certainly not least, one of my other favorite things about having a blog is getting to know your readers better. Many of my readers want me to get involved in business opportunities they are involved with. I have helped fund many projects and partnered on many more. Knowing someone would send a nasty email like the one quoted above is an instant warning sign that this is an angry person that most likely will be sending me an email like that if something ever goes wrong with a project we would be working on together. I have a file I’ve been keeping for years of “people I don’t want to work with” and one person was added to this list after reading this comment string.

Want to use a brand new product or service? Don’t expect things to be perfect, if they aren’t you can always do what I did and leave the service. There is no excuse for talking down to other people that you don’t know anything about. All it does is show the whole world that you are an unhappy person, and if you’re willing to treat some random person you don’t know like that, who knows how your treat your kids and family, I just know to stay away from people like you, bad karma is contagious.

As you know I don’t moderate my comments, this blog is and always will be an open forum, agree or disagree comment and let your voice be heard!

(Photo Credit | Photo Credit)

{ 21 comments… add one }

  • Megan September 3, 2012, 10:29 am

    Morgan, Great post about treating people well – Golden Rule. I have gotten much better resolution to problems with customer service by being factual and polite. For example, I have to fly Delta airlines a lot and they have one of the worst records for ontime flights. Instead of swearing and angry rants at the poor gate agents, etc. I always email Delta after a bad experience – I have received free flights, upgrades and miles added to my SkyMiles accounts as a result. Most companies are willing to make it right if you let them – large or startup. I own a small consulting company and a tech start up like you do – and I am so far from perfect! I value the input from my clients and it actually is like a kick in the stomach when someone flies off the handle and starts swearing, name-calling etc. Calmly ask for your problem to be resolved – most of the time it will be.

    • Morgan September 3, 2012, 10:47 am

      Thanks @Megan, appreciate the comment and agreed completely!

  • SBDomains September 3, 2012, 3:05 pm

    That’s a great article Morgan! Maybe some people will think before shouting at others after reading this. Of course probably here won’t be much people like that, but anyway, if You influence at least 1 person, I believe then You can say that You’ve changed the world.

    By the way, new websites theme looks much better than the last one!

  • Austin Gunter September 3, 2012, 3:11 pm


    Thanks for this post. As one of those folks at WP Engine, we get to work with some amazing folks who are doing incredible work in WordPress. WordPress is amazing because it has such an incredible Community (Capital C) of entrepreneurs, bloggers, developers, and otherwise creative people who are taking risks and creating incredible lives for themselves and their families. The fact that we get to be part of supporting those folks’ lives is a big reason I love getting up and going to work in the morning. It’s the people we get to work with.

    What’s more, I see that the work we do is recognized and valued both by folks who host with WP Engine, as well as folks who host many of their sites elsewhere, as you do. It’s cool to see a post like this when you don’t have anything to gain by publishing it.

    I agree with this 100%:

    Now I’ll level with you – I don’t give a sh*t how bad your life is, treat other people with respect, period.

    Thanks for the reminder that it’s easy to forget that there are hard-working people in every organization. In particular, support staff make it their business to solve problems and help people get back to their lives and business and deserve to be treated with respect.

    Thanks again, Morgan.

    -Austin Gunter

  • Aussie Domainer September 3, 2012, 8:14 pm

    “it’s not the situation they are unhappy with, it is their own life.” hit the nail on the head there.. When you are the subject of abuse like that, it’s hard not to take it personally, but the truth is that it’s a reflection of the person abusing you, not a reflection of you or anything you’ve done.

  • Carley September 4, 2012, 12:50 am

    Well I’m looking forward to moving my sites to WPengine Business package….25 domains should just about cover what I need. I have one bigger site & several smaller ones, so going to see what migration options are possible for some of them using the guys mentioned in the other post & the allowance provided.

    My pre-sale enquiry sent yesterday (a US public holiday) was responded to quickly & I got all the answers I needed.

    My hosting shorlist was page.ly, zippykid & wpengine…and I was extremely tempted by page.ly current “6months for $20/mth” birthday offer…but really WPengine seems like the best plan longer-term. We’re also UK focused so the option of using a UK server was another big sway (among many)!

    My current hosting providers (one “shared” & one “managed dedicated”) work our pretty expensive & I’m just paying this week (monthly in advance, with no partial-refunds)…so unfortunately I cannot afford to start the move until nearer the end of the term…otherwise I’d be raring to go asap!

  • Poor Uncle September 4, 2012, 6:24 am

    Morgan – Yes, I agree with every words you say.

    But a couple of things I don’t understand..why do you have so much white space in your header; and why do you post your picture above-the-fold that takes up 1/5 of the space which can be better use for advertising. hahaha. You are giving yourself better ads placement than all of your advertisers. hahaha. Please forgive me. It’s almost 6:30am in the morning…and I’ve been up since 3am. I am getting a bit silly.

  • Louise September 4, 2012, 6:36 am

    Outstanding article! Married life sits well with you. I yelled because people kept jumping in front of me in line at Big Lots, that I had been waiting for ten minuetes, when it had been five, so I regretted it, as I always do, if I fly off the handle. Respectful and polite as I usually am, I, too, have work on self-control to do.

  • Louise September 4, 2012, 6:38 am

    BTW, great new, sleek, fast-loading professional design! Congrats – I like it! I like your pic at the top – leave it. It gives a face to, “MorganLinton” and makes it inviting instead of cold and impersonal: Give me your $$ I’m going to keep you hostage to obnoxious ads!

  • Vid Luther September 4, 2012, 8:38 am

    Great post Morgan. I had subscribed to the original post, and I was seeing some of the comments come in, Ben and I talked about them offline and couldn’t figure out what caused the issues to make people so angry. I have a simple rule about competition, win on my merits, not the faults of others, which is why I stayed away from the conversation.

    Thank you for jumping in, and helping people.

  • dad September 4, 2012, 9:58 am

    I am not sure I should comment at your blog as your dad….I know I can always just call on you on the phone! I thought your comments about some of your postings were important.
    But I thought when you wrote ….”Now I’ll level with you – I don’t give a shit how bad your life is, treat other people with respect, period. If your life sucks, do something about it, have a job you hate? Do something else. Have a bad relationship? Get therapy. Tooth problems? Go to a better dentist.”
    This really reflects our family tradition handed down from your grandfather to me. There is always a way to work things out never is there a need to be disrespectful to anyone. As you know I have always thought that the disrespectful person is telling you more about themselves than what they are complaining about!
    Keep up the family tradition! I am proud to be your dad! Keep up the good work whether it be in the domain world ….or making the world a better place through mutual respect for others.

  • jan September 10, 2012, 2:12 am

    I moved after two days so glad to be told about zippykid hope there affiliate program is just as effective as wpengine

  • Jeffry Pilcher September 10, 2012, 7:29 am

    WPEngine sucks so badly that they drive normal people insane. That is the root issue. The 4-5 months spent with them were the worst in my company’s history. They created problem after problem, resulting in hours and hours of downtime and lost productivity. Dealing with them was a nonstop nightmare. IMO, they’ve earned every f-bomb they get.

  • Former WP Engine Customer October 2, 2012, 11:27 pm

    Our experience was not as bad as Jeffry’s, but switching to WP Engine was seriously THE #1 worst business decision we made for all of 2012. We were only with them for 3 and a half months and we had several website outages that they tried to cover up as “Emergency Maintenance.” When it comes to having a website and a business, having downtime costs you tremendous amounts of money. If you read the comments section of WP Engine reviews, you’ll learn how other disappointed customers switched to more reliable WordPress hosting such as Zippykid, Page.ly, or Web Synthesis.

  • Cloud October 8, 2012, 10:02 pm

    I have one of my site hosted in WP Engine. So far I did not encounter any issue at all. Except for 1 day. The traffic suddenly dropped for 1 hour. They said there was an outage.
    So far I haven’t encountered any problems to date. Perhaps, it varies and depends on a site’s traffic and load.

  • Anton December 18, 2012, 12:31 pm

    I recently tried working with them as a designer/developer because I wanted to start recommending my clients to a managed service and I have to say it was a HUGE mistake. They are the absolute worst company to deal with. They offer NO PHONE SUPPORT, their “emergency service” simply doesn’t answer, and struggle to answer the simplest questions via tickets.

    After the incredible fail from recommending my first client to them I will never consider going back. Never!

  • Jean Galea December 21, 2012, 2:09 am

    Very good post Morgan, while it is impossible to satisfy everyone all the time, totally negative comments will not get you anything. As in the example of the first commenter, contacting the people who really matter in a nice way is more likely to get you results.

  • Rob January 4, 2013, 8:20 am

    I agree with the general theme of treating people with respect, but there is a point where one has to get angry to force a vendor to deliver on what they promised. We moved to WPEngine in July 2012 and we’ve had continuous issues since. It seems that they have issues supporting larger Multi-Site installations. If our site was down once or twice over the past couple months I wouldn’t mind, but we’ve had several instances where our site wasn’t functioning for days at a time. At times our site was completely down for hours over 3 to 4 days in a row. I want WPEngine to succeed, but we’re thinking they are more hype than anything else.

  • Jeffry Pilcher May 22, 2013, 7:35 am

    UPDATE – Nearly 9 months after the fact, I have finally got all the crap cleaned out of my website code that WPEngine inserted.

    I have been with my current webhost since leaving WPEngine, and have not submitted one support ticket, nor have I suffered any down time. Moreover, no employees from my webhost have monkeyed around with my site’s code/functionality without my knowledge.

  • Austin September 25, 2013, 3:20 pm

    I can understand the hate for WPEngine. They seem to spend alot of money on marketing how they are the WP experts. Every single one of them. But it’s a lie and people don’t like being lied to, hence the vitriol.

    I was only with them for 3 weeks but had numerous issues. Their support staff are not WP experts like they would have you believe and have absolutely no problem doing admin changes on your live site without your permission and without knowing what the hell they’re doing.

    They managed to completely break my site with some change they made – the only reason I know they did some work was the timestamps on the backups they did before they made their changes. Eventually had to fix the problem by reverting to a previous backup, losing days of edits and when I asked what they did to break my site, they claimed it was nothing to do with them (basically they deleted my Parent theme – no joke).

    All the features they have as their unique selling points (e.g. staging area, robust plugin monitoring, automated backups, etc) seem to be written with no error handling. One single problem and the whole thing collapses – and forget their support team helping you out. They’ll more than likely just log into your site without telling you and make the problem worse. After only 3 weeks I was scared to raise any more support tickets in case they screwed something else up – I just got my site back up and running myself, backed the whole thing up and moved to another host as soon as I could.

    In summary – please take my advice and avoid these guys – you may be lucky and have no problems if you’ve got a simple blog with no customization and few plugins, but any remotely complex WP site and you’re probably in for a world of hurt.

  • Pippin Williamson September 26, 2013, 12:57 pm

    I will throw my own voice in here as a WP Engine customer.

    I run several large sites on WP Engine and have been mostly thrilled with their service, including support. Has my experience been completely problem free? No, definitely not, but neither has ANY host I’ve ever been with (I have used several dozen).

    The number one reason I love WPEngine is that they are more than willing to work directly with plugin and theme developers (I’ve written several very large and very popular plugins) to ensure compatibility with mutual customers. The vast majority of hosts will simply tell you to contact the developer (even if you are the developer) to fix any compatibility problems; WPEngine works directly with you.

    I can name several other managed WordPress hosts that treat developers the same way (in terms of working with them), but my personal experience with WPE has been great.


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