Trying A New WordPress Hosting Solution – WPEngine Review: Part One

Out of the sites we have developed roughly a quarter now run on WordPress and about eight of those are very important to us. We’ve tried a variety of solutions for managing these sites and keeping up with all the myriad of updates WordPress needs from plugins, to themes, to the entire platform. Right now it’s an incredibly manual process and while there are some tools that can make it easier, I haven’t seen any great end-to-end solutions.

Yesterday I saw a tweet about WPEngine, a fully managed WordPress hosting solution. Along with keeping your sites secure and up-to-date, they also make sure that your sites are insanely fast, and I mean fast. After doing a bit of research I kept finding really positive reviews with some serious accolades for the kind of speed increases people saw moving their blogs to WPEngine.

WPEngine Site

The first step for us is moving the eight sites over from their current hosting provider. I am going to pay WPEngine to do the move since it is critical that sites (like this blog!) don’t go down. I’ll let you all know how the move goes and hopefully you’ll be able to notice a nice speed increase and I’ll enjoy the peace-of-mind knowing that my WordPress sites are being looked-after by a team of specialists!

You can try WPEngine for 60-Days which is what I’m doing now, but based on what I’ve read it looks like this is the solution I’ve been looking for. Oh and the links in this post are affiliate links, if you want to cut me out of the picture completely go right ahead and simply visit WPEngine.com. Right now I can’t say I recommend this service yet since I’m only just getting started with it myself. What I can say is it looks like a great solution and if you’re not ready to make a decision now, you can wait until my next update to hear how my experience is going!

{ 17 comments… add one }

  • Vincent DiAngelus May 8, 2012, 5:09 pm

    I’m a fan. I met some of the crew at a WordPress conference in Philly, and have been with them ever since. The speed and security have been second to none. I can’t believe what I didn’t know till it was too late.

    Reply
  • Nima.Co May 8, 2012, 5:19 pm

    I’m always impressed by how fast sites load @wpengine. They also have good customer service. I’m sure you’ll be a fan in no time.

    Reply
  • Michael Cyger May 8, 2012, 7:39 pm

    WPEngine is top notch. Jason Cohen, their founder, is a great guy and really cares.

    I host many of my sites, including DomainSherpa.com, at ZippyKid.com. Their founder, Vid Luther, is just as brilliant and passionate. So if you’re evaluating switching to one, I’d suggest you evaluate both. I’ve done a lot of research and these are the top two WordPress hosts around, period.

    Reply
  • Poor Uncle May 8, 2012, 8:02 pm

    Thanks Morgan & Michael for sharing.

    Reply
  • Jason Thompson May 8, 2012, 9:12 pm

    WPEngine is the hosting provider WooThemes switched to after they were hacked. Looks like a great hosting company.

    Reply
  • Morgan May 8, 2012, 9:14 pm

    Thanks for sharing @Michael and @Jason, sounds like this service really is as good as it sounds! Honestly wondering where WPEngine has been all my life!

    Reply
  • Austin Gunter May 9, 2012, 10:38 am

    Hey Morgan, thanks for the (so far) very kind words about WP Engine. I’m the guy who does the community and brand building for WP Engine, so I love seeing reviews like this. I’ll probably share this post internally with our support team just because they like getting feedback from customers.

    Please keep us posted on how your site does and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. We love talking with people who use our services to keep their sites hosted as fast and securely as possible.

    Reply
    • Morgan May 9, 2012, 10:58 am

      Thanks @Austin – great to meet you! I will definitely reach-out to you as I get going!

      Reply
  • brad m. May 12, 2012, 12:47 pm

    I believe all their infrastructure is with FireHost, whom in my opinion is the market leader when it comes to data security.

    Reply
  • Austin Gunter May 13, 2012, 10:14 pm

    Hey Brad,

    We actually don’t use much Firehost anymore. We’re on Linode and ServerBeach instead.

    Reply
  • Emmanuel May 21, 2012, 5:04 am

    I love the idea, fell it love with WPengine, then moved my site to WP engine few days ago. It has been 4 days and now looking for another dedicated server to host my site. It has been a nightmare. My site is dead and losing Google ranking fast.

    It might be OK once the migration is completed for most users. But migrating to WPengine just take the fun out of Wordpress. If you don’t know how easy Wordpress installation and configuration is then you will forever stay away from it.

    The question is, why am I even commenting here? the simple answer is that the support team is not reacting to my mail. They are not solving the problem. I cannot reach Wpengine on the phone because that is against their policy. The emergency team is not picking up the phone. I am just looking around trying to find help online somewhere else. that for $99 monthly fee.

    I have now resulting in looking for personal of WPengine online to try reach someone directly. At hostgator even at $9.99 for hosting, which some called crappy I can reach them on phone anytime.

    Reply
  • Austin Gunter May 23, 2012, 9:47 am

    Hey Emmanuel,

    I wanted to follow up on your comment to make sure that we’ve resolved this to your satisfaction. I know that you’ve spoken with several members of the team since Monday morning, and I have personally walked your account through several stages to make sure that you have a satisfactory resolution to your troubles. Our #1 priority is that you have a stellar hosting experience that exceeds your expectations and that you’re pleased with the support and service that you get. We are committed to this on WP Engine and want to deliver an amazing customer experience, but I always want to make clear that if you believe you’ll get a better experience with another hosting company, then our priority is to help you make that happen as quickly as possible. LIfe is too short to not love your WordPress host.

    Thanks for being so willing to give honest feedback for our company, and for the WordPress community. It helps us continue to grow, fix the mistakes we make (because we do make them), and work every day to make our service incredible.

    Hope to talk with you again soon,

    -Austin

    Reply
  • Jeffry Pilcher August 19, 2012, 8:24 am

    The four months my website was hosted with WPE were the worst in its five-year history. It was nothing but nonstop B.S. and headaches.

    Yes, I know, there are dozens of glowing testimonials about WPEngine’s awesomeness. I’ve read them too. That’s what lead me to give them a try (I’ve hosted with Media Temple and Rackspace before that). Don’t be fooled. It is because of all these one-sided, glowing reviews that I feel compelled to share my experience.

    WPEngine regularly made changes to my website:
    – without my permission
    – without telling me in advance
    – without alerting me to what they did after the fact
    – without checking their work

    They did this not once… not twice… but on three separate occasions. Each instance resulted in CATASTROPHIC failures, crashing the biggest — and most critical — chunks of my website (e.g., single.php, sidebar.php).

    Three separate issues. Three times they made changes. Three times the site crashed.

    No warning. No apology. No admission of wrong-doing. Not once.

    They are right, you are wrong. 100% of the time. They know everything, you know squadoosh. You are to blame for everything. They are accountable for nothing.

    If that’s your idea of “managed hosting,” then go ahead and knock yourself out.

    Does WPEngine answer service requests quickly? Absolutely. They are fast, no doubt. But fast isn’t the only thing I care about. I’d rather wait for the right answer tomorrow than have someone crash my website today. WPE got it all wrong — every… single… time — so everything always ended up taking way more time and energy than it should have.

    Did they EVER give me the slightest indication they cared? Nope. Their attitude: “It’s our way or the highway, pal.” Share your complaints on Twitter and they’ll say, “We stand by our service 100%.” Ask them for an apology, explanation or to talk with a senior service manager and they’ll just flat out ignore you.

    I run my website as my sole source of income.* When my site goes down, I lose money. I can’t afford website crashes. I can’t afford to have my webhost dump one massive admin disaster after another in my lap. If your business is dependent on your WordPress website, you absolutely cannot gamble with WPEngine.

    My experience was a net negative, all the way around. Their impositions were exceedingly disruptive. The stress was nearly unbearable. Their incompetence was infuriating. And their incredulity was unfathomable. Worse yet, the “performance features” they tout (CDN, caching) had little- to no impact on my site’s load times.

    In a nutshell? WPEngine is an autocratic, arrogant and incapable webhost — an utter nightmare combination. Even if their service didn’t suck, it still wouldn’t be worth half the money they charge.

    “It’s not for everyone,” they told me. Sheesh, that’s the understatement of the century. It’s definitely not for me, nor anyone else who takes their website — or customer service — seriously.

    Most sincerely,

    Jeffry Pilcher, Publisher
    TheFinancialBrand.com

    (* 50K monthly uniques, 125K monthly pageviews)

    P.S. – WPEngine may pop in to point out (yet again) where I’ve got it wrong and what I don’t understand about their “service.” I won’t be checking this thread, as they have expired my patience, and I have absolutely no interest in quibbling with them any further. Question everything they say, because they cannot be trusted. They are the most defensive, self-protectionist company I’ve ever dealt with. If they only cared about their customers as much as their reputation…

    Reply
  • Austin Gunter August 22, 2012, 12:33 pm

    Hi Jeffrey,

    Thanks again for posting your experiences with WP Engine. I’ll refer you back to my original response to the first place I saw your post: http://retrorenovation.com/2011/10/19/wp-engine/comment-page-1/#comment-144124

    Let me know how we can help in the future:

    -AG

    Reply
  • Jeffry Pilcher August 24, 2012, 1:48 pm

    Nice try Austin. You’ve investigated one issue that caused one of the site’s three crashes. To address Austin’s spin on this (one) situation… Here is the correct chronology of events.

    I woke up one morning and found my site was broken. No posts would load, period. I spent half a day investigating the cause — what went wrong and where? I hadn’t made any changes, and couldn’t come up with anything, so I submitted a service request to WPEngine. They replied saying that they had deleted (not deactivated, but flat out deleted) a plugin called “Similar Posts.” I asked them when they had planned on letting me know. After all, they have the email address for every single site admin (listed under Users in the WP dashboard). How hard is it to send an email to site admins alerting them to a Major Change, such as a plugin’s deletion?

    Did the plugin need to be retired? Yes, and I understand the reasons.

    Did WPE need to delete the plugin without any notice or warning? No.

    If WPE needed to move quickly to avoid bad neighbor issues, could they have sent an email after the fact? Yes.

    Did they apologize for the half day I wasted looking for the cause of the crash? No.

    Did they express empathy? No.

    Did they appreciate my suggestion that — in the future — WPE alert admins when changes are made to a site? No. They told me I might want to find a new webhost.

    So that’s a recap on the first service issue that caused the first crash. It only went downhill from there.

    Reply
  • Yuri February 13, 2013, 10:47 am

    I’d say WP Engine is a hype. I have little interest in how fast or reliable (if at all) their hosting is if their customer service is non-existent.

    I have tried multiple times to ask them a basic question on their contact form, and have never received a reply. True, I could have called the phone number, but that’s not my way of communication. And, it’s a basic customer service test that they failed miserably!

    If you pride (hype) yourself in serving the customer well, you should at least speak their language and respond to their questions, no?

    Two words. Overpriced Hype.

    Reply
  • Danny W. January 1, 2014, 2:25 pm

    Hi

    I’ve tried WPengine as well, they’re much better than most, no doubt about that. I found a speed test plugin at the Wordpress repository

    http://wordpress.org/plugins/mywebtonet-performancestats/

    and tried it on several of my blogs at WPengine. The test results came to around 14-18 seconds. Funnily enough, when I moved to the provider that made the plugin,the test times fell to around 8.5 seconds. WPengine are good, but mywebtonet.com is simply better and a lot cheaper.

    Danny

    Reply

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