WPEngine is a powerful web hosting solution, but it’s not the perfect fit for everyone. We had the chance to interview Robert Brandle, owner of WebsiteToolTester, a site that reviews and recommends the various tool builders available to create and format a website. His own website has grown by leaps and bounds, in terms of traffic, so he needs a web host that will easily handle the bandwidth and data. Can WPEngine hosting handle it? Let’s find out.
I started a review site about website builders back in 2009 while I was still working in my day job at a marketing agency in Germany. Very soon WebsiteToolTester required my full attention so I quit my old job. At first the website was only available in German, but over time we added five more language versions. The team grew along with the website and now there are five of us. Oh, and one more thing, in 2012 we moved our headquarters to sunny Barcelona 🙂
We use WPEngine’s Business WordPress hosting plan. We needed a hosting provider that was able to absorb all our traffic. For SEO & usability reasons we also wanted our server to be fast and reliable. We are happy with the service so far, although they are a bit expensive.
Some months ago we tried a similar hosting provider (Flywheel) as we wanted to save a bit of money. However, in the end, we realized WPEngine’s quality is difficult to match. After running into a couple of problems regarding the site’s speed and SFTP connection errors I recall our programmer saying, “It’s like changing from a Lexus to a Toyota!”
Our main project, WebsiteToolTester is a WordPress site. Therefore, we felt we needed a hosting service with WordPress expertise able to perform well even with our high traffic. We also require daily backups and a staging area – all of which WP Engine provides. Another plus is their built-in Content Delivery Network (CDN). After researching the market in 2012 we decided to give WPEngine a try and we have stuck with them ever since.
Support is normally good, responsive and always available. The last time we contacted them was to move one of our installations from the US to the datacenter they have in Europe. Everything went well and we had our installation moved within hours with no additional cost.
The GeoIp plugin allows us to show location-based content to users depending where they are from, which is extremely useful for us as an international website that serves different audiences in English (US, UK) and German (DE, CH), for example.
Also, I can’t remember how many times the “restore backup” function has saved my life and our programmer’s job : )
And the integrated staging provides an excellent testing ground for new features our new site without harming the live site.
We don’t like their pricing structure. It ends up becoming quite expensive, more than $200 per month for the Business plan. We recently also had a few issues with our uptime as WP Engine’s hosting provider Linode was under a pretty severe DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. But they resolved this situation relatively quickly by moving us to a different server at Rackspace.
WPEngine offers a very good service and we are obviously happy with it. Nonetheless, their entry plan is already $29 per month. It’s a great investment for any company that can afford it but there are of course also cheaper alternatives available that can perform all right for smaller sites.