People keep asking me how I feel about WP Engine…
…and what comes to mind is:
I’m not the only person complaining either. Here’s my full breakdown on things they should improve:
1. Slow performance
Slow page load speed. Slow processing for heavy sites. For all the hoopla about them being a high-performance host, I don’t consider them to be very fast. Dare I say it, I think they’re “the GoDaddy of performance-hosting”. If you want a faster host in the same tier, go Kinsta.
It annoys me to no end that their hosting can’t handle large sites! By large, I don’t mean high-traffic…I mean heavy sites with lots of plugins, dynamic processing, CSS and JS being loaded. It’s true, you shouldn’t have those in the first place but if you do, don’t count on WPE’s performance to come through on this one for you. It’s little things like this that totally give away the fact that WPE’s hosting (like most wannabe “performance hosts”) is built for EFFICIENCY rather than for SPEED. That’s just the truth of the industry.
This is a sad one to hear. I personally haven’t noticed any issues during my own experience but have heard of many complaining about it. Downtimes, “emergency maintenance”, database connection errors, redirects getting confused between live and staging sites (scary!). For what it’s worth, I think their stability has probably better now than it was before. I still don’t think it’s any faster, though.
3. Plugin limitations
Here’s WPE’s list of banned plugins. Most of them are reasonably banned for being resource-intensive or potential security flaws. But some others are among my favorite caching plugins. I wouldn’t mind those caching plugins being disallowed if only WPE’s built-in caching was actually fast enough for it. But it isn’t, so I’m annoyed that I’m not allowed to use something better.
I hate to throw this word around as it’s easy to say any “premium” service is over-priced but I truely do feel this way about WPE. Their high pricing has more to do with their strong branding and aggressive marketing rather than with the value their offer to businesses. Simply put, I think you can find better performance and support elsewhere. Even if you don’t mind paying a little extra for the perceived “security” you get with a big-name company, there are still other big-names that offer a better deal, IMO.
The worst part about the pricing is that it seems to get worse when you have more sites and more traffic you add. If you’re looking for a company to grow for the longterm with, WPE is not the one. Their best value is probably when you have only 1 site and very little traffic. Beyond that and you’re better off getting a reputable managed VPS elsewhere. I’ll draw the line here: if you have over 5 sites or 100k monthly visits, I think they’re a ripoff.
5. Frustrating support
Lucky for me, I don’t need support. But my clients and friends often do. And it is THEY who feel WPE’s support doesn’t deliver. The complaints range between either having long queues (you wait behind 20-80 other people) or not able to fix website issues (I’m guessing typical plugin conflicts or ERROR 500 type of stuff).
6. Sneaky billing practices
There have been many complaints about unfair billing. Many people felt overcharged (billed above the traffic they actually got) and that when they figured it out, WPE only gave them credit and they had to complain again to get it refunded to their creditcard.
7. Gimmicky marketing
Let’s be fair: I think MOST webhosting companies out there are all partaking in some form of gimmicky marketing. I just think WPE’s marketing is exceptionally gimmicky. Lots of talk about being high-performance, fancy white papers and technical sheets and other marketing on their site. But then slow performance. And let’s also not forget about the #1 reason they’re being recommended by almost every blogger out there…their massive affiliate commission ($200 per sale). It does bother me when a company’s frequent referral via word-of-mouth is tainted by high commissions.
8. Slow file download
Yeah, I’m serious. I don’t get it. It’s like their drives are slow or maybe some annoying security scanning on each uploaded/downloaded file? Either way, it’s annoying!
9. Flakey backup generation/download
I don’t know what the heck is going on and I’m actually baffled a company of this magnitude can’t get backups working right. Sure, they might work if your site is only 100mb. But try generating a backup for a 5GB site and all kinds of weird things can happen. First off, the backups take forever to generate. You have to wait a good amount of time…feels like 45 mins to an hour…just to find out the backup didn’t even generate properly (ARGH!!!).
You will be incredibly angry and frustrated one day when you realize you can’t download a working back-up. It happened to a client who wanted to migrate to our webhosting service.
EDIT: this happened again May 3, 2020. 7gb database. Can’t export in one shot, not even 10 tables at a time.
10. Clunky user interface
It’s good enough for me but could definitely be much more streamlined considering what they charge for their service. I like that it gets the job done and is easy-enough to use and figure things out. The redirects function is handy. But still…they can do better. Their dated interface doesn’t match their pricing. I was expecting sexier and much more user-friendly.
I still love WP Engine though!
Because they’ve given us so many webhosting clients. 😉
- Still want to get WP Engine? Here’s my affiliate link. (Hey, at least it came from an honest review!)