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.
Hello Robert! We are pleased to have the opportunity to interview you. Could you start by telling us a bit more about yourself and your business?
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 :)
Lucky you and congratulations on your impressive growth! So which hosting plan do you use and why did you choose it?
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!”
"…we realized WPEngine’s quality is difficult to match"
I can understand why you went back to WPEngine. Do you remember what made you choose this hosting company over other choices when you first started hosting with them?
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.
"We also require daily backups and a staging area – all of which WP Engine provides."
What is your experience with the technical support department? Are they able to help you with your issues in a timely manner?
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.
"Support is normally good, responsive and always available."
Your choice of datacenters is a great feature of WPEngine’s hosting. Can you think of other features of this website hosting that you love?
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.
Those are some really cool features and I can see why they would be very helpful to your website management team. Is there anything you don’t like about WPEngine?
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.
"We don’t like their pricing structure. It ends up becoming quite expensive, more than $200 per month for the Business plan."
At least WPEngine was able to mitigate the damages of the DDoS. So, would you recommend WP Engine’s WordPress hosting plans to others in your industry or online business owners in general?
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.
"WPEngine offers a very good service and we are obviously happy with it."
Thank you, Robert, for giving us an inside view on what WPEngine does best. Your candid answers are much appreciated!
Readers, remember to check out Robert’s site for information on website builder. To learn more about the host, see our editor’s WP Engine review.