In late May, I paid WP Engine for a year’s worth of hosting for my biblical Greek site for Japanese speakers, and I migrated from HostMonster’s U.S. server to WP Engine’s Tokyo server. My 60-day money back guarantee ends today, and I’m happy to stay put.
Here’s a short review of the reasons why I’ve decided to stick with WP Engine.
(1) I immediately saw a huge increase in the speed of my site after I migrated to WP Engine.
I mean, it just zipped. The excruciating wait for pages to load was over. For example, according to two performance tests at WebPageTest, my “Time to First Byte” dropped from 3.092 seconds before the migration down to 0.120 seconds after the migration.
Before migrating to WP Engine:
After migrating to WP Engine:
(2) I really like WP Engine’s “staging area.”
The staging area has been great for experimenting with lots of different widgets, plugins, and layouts without messing up the site or disturbing visitors who happen to be there while I’m playing in the sandbox.
(3) I appreciate WP Engine’s level of security.
I’ve had the miserable experience of being hacked on another WordPress site at BeeOasis. It was terribly frustrating to discover that viagra and cialis links had somehow been inserted into almost every post and page. And our host at the time had no solution for it. I still don’t know why BeeOasis was hacked, but according to this WordPress Safety & Security infographic, 41% of WordPress blogs get hacked because of hosting vulnerabilities.
(4) WP Engine makes daily backups for me.
When the site was at HostMonster, I rarely backed it up. Now, it’s backed up automatically every day. Thanks to the staging area and the good security, I’m not sure if I’ll ever need to revert to a backup, but it’s great to have the daily checkpoints there just in case. And I don’t even have to push that “Backup Now” button you see there in the screenshot below.
(5) WP Engine has great support, and they are WordPress experts.
In the past two months, I’ve opened 5 support tickets. I was satisfied with the speed and detail of the responses each time.
Actually, though, I can’t really say that my limited experience with their support so far has been a reason for switching hosts. I also experienced good support at HostMonster on the rare occasion that I asked them a question.
Furthermore, in my humble opinion, I think that WP Engine’s online documentation needs improvement. On more than one occasion, I could not find rather basic information or help in WP Engine’s support forum (sorry, I can’t remember specific instances now).
Still, over the past two months I’ve come to hold big expectations that when I get stuck or have a problem with WordPress, the team at WP Engine will be able to help me sort it out in a reasonably short period of time.
(6) I’m okay with the higher-than-normal price tag.
During the 60-day trial period, I strongly considered Media Temple and other less expensive hosts that allow for multiple site installations for no extra charge. In the end, though, I’ve made a mental shift away from expecting high value online to be free or nearly free, and I’ve reached the point where WP Engine’s price now seems incredibly low for their premium hosting service and expertise with WordPress. I’m investing a significant amount of time and energy in the site — I figure it’s worth at least as much as I probably spend on coffee and tea each month.
What do you think? Is it worth the price?
*For the sake of transparency, I wish to note that my links to WP Engine here and above are affiliate links. After signing up for the annual plan, I found out that they have a surprisingly generous affiliate program, so I thought I’d have fun with it and finally learn something about how affiliate networks work (I’ve only dabbled around with Amazon up to this point).