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Why Choose WP Engine for WordPress Managed Hosting
Why Choose WP Engine for WordPress Managed Hosting. See why digital marketing experts at Vital choose WP Engine as the preferred host for their WordPress clients
A website is an investment—and like any investment, you want to keep it secure and maximize its value. If your site was built using WordPress, choosing the right hosting provider is crucial to your site’s security and performance. The options can feel overwhelming, which is why our team of expert WordPress website developers makes things easy on our clients by using WP Engine for managed hosting.
Vital has been building websites and crafting winning digital marketing strategies for over 20 years. We’ve worked with hundreds of brands in diverse industries including B2B manufacturing, higher education, fintech, and more to build online presences that help them meet their business goals. We love sharing our knowledge about how to leverage WordPress to build sites that do more than just look good—they act as the foundation for digital marketing with dramatic return on investment (ROI).
Why Vital Uses WordPress
At Vital, we custom-build virtually all our client sites using the WordPress Block Editor because it combines power and flexibility with an intuitive backend. Our clients love WordPress because it gives them the ability to easily add and edit new pages long after launch without the need for technical development expertise, which makes their sites scalable while lowering the lifetime cost of ownership.
About WP Engine
Vital has been using WP Engine for our managed hosting needs for seven years. WP Engine is the original WordPress-optimized managed hosting provider for everything from personal blogs to enterprise-level Fortune 500 companies. We recommend managed hosting to our clients because it helps keep their sites fast, secure, and technologically up-to-date. As a WordPress managed hosting provider, WP Engine handles everything from server infrastructure to the WordPress application itself.
Why Vital Uses WP Engine for Managed Hosting
At Vital, we build sites that are flexible, scalable, easy to use, and secure. We use WP Engine for managed hosting because it helps ensure that every site we build meets those standards both on the day they launch and long into the future. Here’s how:
WP Engine Maximizes Site Performance.
WP Engine’s sophisticated frontend system for handling web traffic means faster-loading pages, while their Advanced Network further improves speed and security. Site speed and performance directly impacts SEO and user experience, so this is a huge deal for our clients, who are focused on using their sites to attract traffic through search engine optimization (SEO) and on driving online conversions, generating leads, and increasing their revenue.
Top-notch Technology for Top-notch Websites
With WP Engine, Vital gets dedicated servers that run HTTP/2, PHP 7, and have been optimized to run our highly dynamic sites as fast as possible. Both Premium and Enterprise solutions are dedicated virtual environments with provisioned processing power, memory, disk space, and system resources. This lets our clients get the most out of their sites and ensures that site performance is never compromised.
Keeping Up With WordPress Updates
One of the things we love about WordPress is that it’s always improving with core updates. In addition, a wealth of native and third-party plugins provide enhanced functionality—and those plugins are also frequently updated. It can be challenging to manage all these updates, and falling behind can lead to bugs and site breakages. WP Engine proactively manages all WordPress core updates and security patching to keep things running smoothly, and its Smart Plugin Manager makes sure plugin updates don’t break your site.
Ensuring Site Security
This one is simple. Security is a concern for any website in today’s world. No one wants their site to get hacked or otherwise attacked. We choose WP Engine because of its track record as the most secure, professionally-managed WordPress hosting out there.
If you’ve ever had the experience of your computer crashing before you press “save,” you know how important backups are. With WP Engine, you get a fully automated, set-it-and-forget-it backup system should anything go wrong with your site.
The Best Customer Service and Support
Even with the most advanced technology, there will come a time when you need to get in touch with a real person, fast. In the course of our seven-year partnership with WP Engine, they have provided consistently excellent, responsive customer service. It’s one of the big reasons we stick with them for our clients’ managed hosting needs.
How WP Engine Improved Our Website Performance: A Success Story
Nine years ago, Vital used our own website as the guinea pig for evaluating WP Engine as a new WordPress hosting service. Our site was old and running very slowly on a competitor’s hosting servers. We moved the Vital site to WP Engine and saw a huge performance improvement right off the bat without making any code changes at all. WP Engine’s performance features solved a lot of the site’s problems without any further work.
How WP Engine Rescued Our Clients’ Sites: A Christmas Eve Miracle
A few days before Christmas 2015, we asked one of our hosts to cancel one of our VPS servers since it was no longer in use. On Christmas Eve, several clients’ sites went down suddenly. It turned out that the host had “accidentally” canceled ALL of our VPS servers on our account instead of just the one server we requested.
The host had no backup system in place and therefore could not restore the servers. Everything was lost and the host couldn’t help us at all. The Vital Dev Team spent Christmas break scrounging for copies of the lost websites. We got them from local development systems and our own manual archival backups. Git version control saved a lot of the sites’ code as well.
We moved most of these clients to WP Engine where they are safe and sound thanks to infinitely more competent support, significantly more robust infrastructure, and daily offsite backups of all websites in case of disaster. The incident also spurred Vital to start offering our “Secondary Backup” service which creates daily backups of a site in addition to any backups offered by a client’s web host, just in case the worst happens again.
WP Engine review for WordPress – specific features
If you want to ensure that your website is optimized, secure, and fast-loading – without doing a lot of work yourself – managed hosting is an option worth considering. When it comes to managed WordPress hosting, WP Engine is one of the top names.
Its service offers quite a few WordPress-specific features, including:
- Quick and easy migrations from your old host.
- A free Secure Socket Layers (SSL) certificate, which is an important security measure.
- Support for setting up staging sites.
- Plenty of performance tracking and diagnostic options.
WP Engine plans come with plenty of support included. You’ll get 24/7 access to dedicated help via phone, email, or live chat. Support options are easy to access right from your user portal once you’ve signed up.
We took a test drive of the live chat to get a feel for the support staff:
Agents were quick to respond, helpful, and seemed knowledgeable about the platform. They were able to answer our questions without any trouble. For even more assistance and information, there’s also a resource center and a comprehensive knowledge base with lots of well-written documentation and tutorials.
Features and support are important, but performance is what makes or breaks a web host. Fortunately, WP Engine offers plenty of performance-enhancing features, such as:
- A free Content Delivery Network (CDN) service, included on all plans.
- A Page Performance solution that tests your site and helps you make improvements.
- An add-on called GeoTarget that optimizes your site for specific regions.
What’s more, WP Engine offers a lot of server locations. We won’t list them all out (there are 19), but they include data centers in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
All of this should translate to excellent real-world performance. Let’s see if that’s the case!
Page speed tests with Pingdom
For the next phase of our WP Engine Review for WordPress, we set up a basic site and tested its loading speeds using Pingdom Tools from various locations around the world. Here are our results:
- New York: 1.61 seconds
- Melbourne: 1.67 seconds
- San Jose: 0.39 seconds
- Stockholm: 1.60 seconds
These are remarkably consistent times (with the exception of San Jose, which is the clear standout). 1.6 seconds isn’t particularly impressive, but it’s a decent speed that remains below the all-important two-second mark.
Page speed tests with Load Impact
It’s always smart to test performance using multiple tools. So we also used Load Impact to simulate the effects of multiple simultaneous users on our WP Engine site. Here’s what we got:
- Load Generator: Ashburn, USA
- Test Server: Ann Arbor, USA
- Minimum Response Time: 0.51 seconds
- Maximum Response Time: 0.59 seconds
Basically, this chart shows that as the number of visitors increases (blue line), our test site’s page load times remained consistent (green line). That’s a good thing because it means your site will load just as quickly for the 1st visitor as it will for the 50th person visiting at the same time.
While WP Engine only offers one type of service – its managed WordPress hosting – it also provides a number of tiered plans to choose from. These plans differ dramatically in how many resources they offer and the number of sites they cater to, which means you’re getting a very scalable service.
Let’s run through each of the WP Engine plans quickly:
- Startup ($20 per month): With this entry-level tier, you get support for up to 25,000 visits per month, one website, 10GB of storage, and 50GB of bandwidth. You’ll also get an SSL certificate, access to a global CDN, and a few other key features.
- Professional ($39 per month): This plan allows you to set up three sites and welcome up to 75,000 visitors a month. You also get 15 GB of storage.
- Growth ($77 per month): This plan increases your traffic support to 100,000 and provides you with ten sites. In addition to more resources, you get access to 24/7 phone support and can import your own SSL certificates.
- Scale ($193 per month): This tier is largely identical to the last. It simply provides even more resources, bumps your site count up to 30, and supports up to 400,000 visits per month.
- Premium and Enterprise: These are custom plans, so pricing will vary. They provide lots of additional resources and support, and move your hosting from a shared setup to dedicated servers.
These plans aren’t cheap, but they do provide plenty of features and lots of room for your site to grow. If you’re looking to build one or more serious business or e-commerce sites, this service is worth a look.
Overall pros and cons
For the final step in our WP Engine review for WordPress, let’s sum up the key pros and cons of this hosting provider.
- Well-optimized for WordPress users.
- Simplifies the process of managing your website.
- Provides solid, consistent performance.
- Offers plenty of dedicated and expert support.
- Won’t fit into everyone’s budget.
- Only offers managed hosting on shared servers (or dedicated servers on the custom plans).
Alternatives to WP Engine hosting
WP Engine is a solid hosting choice if you have a decent budget. However, it’s fairly expensive (especially on the higher tiers).
If you like WP Engine in theory, but it just isn’t in your price range, there are some alternatives you can check out. SiteGround is a great WordPress-specific provider, for example, and DreamHost offers managed hosting that’s pretty affordable. For more information, you can take a look at our full article on alternatives to WP Engine.
WP Engine plans don’t come cheap – there’s no sugar-coating that fact. However, you’ll get a quality managed hosting service in exchange for your investment. This provider offers lots of vital WordPress-specific features, solid performance, and reliable support. If WP Engine does fit your budget, it’s worth serious consideration.
If not, we mentioned a few alternatives above. For even more hosting options, you can check out some of our previous reviews: