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WP Engine Review: Our 5 Favorite Web Hosting Sites

Sacramento Bee logo Sacramento Bee 8/11/2022 Larry Li, The Sacramento Bee

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Have you been searching for the perfect web hosting provider for your website? We’ve compiled a list of our five favorites, including a short WP Engine review and information on alternatives to WP Engine. With this concise look at what each offers, you can find the best provider for you.

Top 5 Web Hosting Sites and WP Engine Review

1. WP Engine – The Top Web Hosting Pick

Pros:

  • Free backups and data restoration
  • Quick customer support response time
  • No long-term contracts or commitments
  • Free website migration
  • WordPress expertise/management

Cons:

  • Higher pricing than the competition
  • WordPress compatibility only
  • No email or domain names available

WP Engine is one of those companies that, while it has slightly higher pricing, totally outdoes the competition. It is no surprise that this WP Engine review is one of many recommending their services.

Some of WP Engine’s best features are that customer support typically responds quickly to your queries and the company itself is well-known for its WordPress expertise. They don’t require you to sign contracts or make any long-term commitments to their services, and also offer free website migration.

One of the only downsides of this company is that they are strictly compatible with WordPress-built sites only and do not offer extra services such as email and domain names. This means that if you already have your site built but it’s not compatible, you would either have to start over or look at other web hosting choices.

On the other hand, if you don’t have a site built yet but want to use WordPress, they are one of your best options for receiving professional support and optimized services.

Every site, including alternatives to WP Engine, has its pros and cons. However, if you need the best overall stability and service, security, and speed, and don’t want to commit to anything long-term, WP Engine definitely fits the bill.

Usability: 5/5

Many WP Engine reviews state that this provider is apt for beginners and professionals. Add knowledgeable customer service to that, and you’ve got a high level of ease of use and an overall smooth experience.

Features: 5/5

WP Engine partners with Cloudflare, Google Cloud, HubSpot, New Relic, and AWS by taking their best features and making them optimal for WordPress sites. They also offer automated migration, automatic security updates, offsite backup, and staged test sites.

Uptime and Reliability: 4.5/5

Like many alternatives to WP Engine, they offer an uptime guarantee. Specifically, they promise to provide 99.95% uptime, except for scheduled maintenance, events outside of their control, and downtime caused by you or someone acting on your behalf.

If uptime falls below that percentage, you will be credited 5% of your monthly fee for every hour the site is down. The only catch is that you have to let customer support know when it’s happened to receive credit.

Cost: 3.5/5

As any WP Engine review will tell you, they are on the higher end regarding pricing. Their basic startup plan costs around $25 a month and is billed annually, and that basic plan comes with a traffic cap. Compared to other host options, it is on the pricier end of the scale.

Total Score: 4.5/5

>> Set up your WP site with WP Engine

2. Bluehost – Best Website Security

Pros:

  • Free SSL Certificate
  • Two-factor authentication available
  • Three levels of spam protection in email
  • Cloudflare

Cons:

  • Site migration isn’t free
  • No daily backups
  • 36-month commitment for best pricing

Bluehost is our second choice and one of the decent alternatives to WP Engine. This provider is also well-known, and one of the features that many enjoy is that it has options for everyone. Their pricing is reasonable but comes with the catch that you need to make a 36-month commitment to get the best deal.

Bluehost is seen as an all-in-one solution for many people and small businesses. They have professional marketing services, as well as their hosting and web design offerings.

The most valuable part of this service among alternatives to WP Engine is that they’re huge on cybersecurity. That’s a massive plus in today’s volatile virtual world.

Usability: 5/5

Bluehost provides an easy-to-use platform and overall experience for beginners and professionals alike. You can easily get a site live in little time.

Features: 4/5

Bluehost offers unlimited storage on some of their plans, a custom cPanel interface, and free SSL certificates.

Unlike many of their competitors, they offer two-factor authentication options and three different levels of spam protection in email. It’s excellent value for your money and very secure.

Uptime and Reliability: 4/5

Much like other alternatives to WP Engine, Bluehost says they can offer up to 99.98% uptime. In online reviews, they are often said to be fast and reliable with good customer support.

Cost: 4/5

One of the biggest positives of BlueHost is that they have many different plan options and great introductory pricing.

Overall Score: 4.25/5

>> Check out Bluehost’s best hosting plans

3. HostGator – Best for Individual Blogs and Sites

Pros:

  • 24/7 customer support
  • Excellent compatibility with most sites
  • Intuitive platform for beginning website design

Cons:

  • Long chat wait times
  • No free SSL certificate
  • Security features lacking

HostGator is one of the better-known alternatives to WP Engine and makes it to third place in our list. It’s one of the best for blogs and personal websites, mainly because it is easy to get a site up and running.

Their plan pricing also makes it an excellent web hosting company for small businesses and individuals. It’s one of the more affordable options, especially with their introductory pricing.

Usability: 4/5

The general consensus is that HostGator is one of the more straightforward ways to create and manage a website.

Features: 3.5/5

Unlimited storage and options of shared, dedicated, and virtual private servers are all available. They also offer SSL certificates and domain registration, and some plans include ad credits.

Uptime and Reliability: 4/5

HostGator is one of the great alternatives to WP Engine, especially when it comes to uptime. They guarantee 99.9% uptime and very rarely fall below that percentage.

Cost: 4/5

Their costs are low to start. After the introductory period, however, the pricing will change.

Overall Score: 3.9/5

>> Set up your site with HostGator

4. Namecheap – Best Budget Host

Pros:

  • Best domain name pricing
  • Intuitive interface for beginning users
  • Free SSL certificate

Cons:

  • Primary focus on domains, not hosting
  • Customer service lacking
  • No daily backups on most plans
  • No dedicated IPs

This company is one of the alternatives to WP Engine that also dedicates itself to domain names. In fact, it could be argued that their main focus is domain names and that hosting services are very much secondary.

Namecheap is great because of its pricing and very affordable domain name services but lacks basic features that most other competitors offer.

Usability: 3.5/5

Most customers who write Namecheap reviews say that while it’s not terrible, it’s also not as user-friendly as other sites.

Features: 3.5/5

This is where Namecheap is lacking. Cheap domain names are a plus, but they don’t offer unlimited storage, email, etc. Recently, however, they have begun to offer cyber insurance and spam protection.

Uptime and Reliability: 3/5

Plenty of reviews state that downtime happens too often on Namecheap servers. So while it may not be the worst of all the alternatives to WP Engine, it definitely doesn’t take first place, either.

Cost: 4/5

Namecheap explains itself on this one. Their domain names are very affordable, and hosting services are priced around the same as their competitors.

Overall Score: 3.5/5

>>Get your site live with Namecheap’s cost-effective hosting

5. DreamHost – Best Cloud-based Web Hosting

Pros:

  • Unmetered bandwidth and unlimited storage
  • Month-to-month plans available
  • Great scalability with cloud hosting
  • Free site migration for WordPress

Cons:

  • Not for beginners
  • Non-WordPress migration is expensive
  • Customer support lacking

DreamHost stands out among the other alternatives to WP Engine because they are one of the best for cloud-based web hosting. This means that nothing is dependent on a single physical server.

Cloud-based hosting is more like a network of servers (both virtual and physical) that allows much more flexibility and reliability. Those who purchase these types of plans don’t have to worry about bandwidth usage or even hardware problems, and if one part of the network is down, they don’t have to worry about the whole thing crashing.

All of their plans include unlimited bandwidth, free domain registration, and daily backups, among other benefits. They also offer email service, SSL certificates, and above-standard security features.

Usability: 3/5

While DreamHost has many fantastic features, its interface isn’t as intuitive or user-friendly as many of the other alternatives to WP Engine.

Features: 4/5

Unlimited bandwidth and storage, daily backups, WordPress staging, free domain name, and more are available, as are options for dedicated servers or even a private virtual server.

Uptime and Reliability: 5/5

Surprisingly, DreamHost boasts an ambitious 100% uptime. They state on their website that if downtime is their fault, you will be credited for a day of service for each hour the site was down.

Cost: 4/5

Their cloud hosting prices are some of the best in the industry, and they have fantastic introductory pricing for other plans. Their regular billing cycles range from monthly to yearly to every three years.

Overall Score: 3/5

Honorable Mentions

6. Weebly

Our first runner-up is Weebly. While easy to use for most, their tools can be limited, and it is difficult to migrate your site to another hosting company.

7. SiteGround

Last but not least is SiteGround. While it also has some fantastic features available, its storage offerings are pretty limited, and its renewal prices are also much higher than other alternatives to WP Engine.

How Did We Rank and Ultimately Choose 5 Web Hosting Providers?

We know how important it is to have a web hosting service that you can trust. Thus, as we pored over reviews, official websites, and more, we were looking for:

  • Usability
  • Costs and introductory pricing
  • Speed and general reliability
  • Expertise
  • Security measures
  • Important features

Once we had a good idea of how each company measured up, we compared, analyzed, and created the list of our favorite five and two runners-up.

WP Engine Review FAQ & Buying Guide

What Are the Different Types of Web Hosting Available?

There are several different types of web hosting available.

The first is shared hosting. This is when several websites are managed and kept on the same physical server. Things like RAM, storage, and bandwidth are typically shared and split between all sites on the server.

The second is virtual private server hosting. This is usually a step up from shared hosting and is available on WP Engine and alternatives to WP Engine. VPSs are virtual machines that are more flexible than physical servers and are better equipped to handle higher website traffic.

You still share a server with others, but you aren’t sharing the RAM, storage, etc., directly with them. It also tends to be one of the more affordable options for smaller businesses or websites with tons of pictures or videos.

The third is dedicated hosting. This means that you have your own dedicated server just for your website. It’s more responsibility on your part, but it allows much larger sites more customization, resources, and stability.

Dedicated hosting is typically the most expensive plan, whether you purchase it on WP Engine or from one of the alternatives to WP Engine.

Last is cloud-based hosting. This is a combination of resources that are virtually linked together in a sort of network. Think of them as being virtually outsourced. The advantage of cloud-based hosting is that it is typically cheaper than dedicated hosting and is scalable.

What Type of Web Hosting Should I Choose?

This really depends on what you’re looking to get out of web hosting.

Shared hosting is typically the lowest maintenance and also the cheapest option. However, if you have a larger or more demanding site, you should probably look into VPS hosting. VPS hosting lets you worry less about who you’re sharing a server with and is lower cost than a dedicated server while still offering the same results.

Another option found in alternatives to WP Engine as well as that service is cloud-based hosting. This may be a good option if you have a larger business and uptime is essential to your productivity and profits. Especially if you are on a budget for your web hosting needs, look into cloud services before spending money on a private server.

If you have a website with a lot of traffic, sometimes a dedicated server is your best choice, giving you higher performance and total control.

Can I Get My Money Back if the Service Isn’t What I Expected?

WP Engine and the alternatives to WP Engine listed here all offer money-back guarantees. These guarantees range from 30 days to several months, and the terms and details of each can be found on their respective websites.

Do I Really Have To Purchase Months of Service All at Once?

Each of these web hosting providers offers its own policies on this. For example, WP Engine provides monthly and annual plans and accepts payment in U.S., Canadian and Australian dollars, British pounds, and Euros. However, the monthly plan is more expensive than the monthly cost of a plan billed annually.

Some of the other alternatives to WP Engine offer plans that are billed monthly, every three, six, 12, 18, 24, and 36 months.

Are Email Addresses Included in All Hosting Plans?

WP Engine does not offer email addresses with their hosting services, so you’ll have to find your own email service. Some other hosting options do offer email, though sometimes for an extra fee. It’s always important to double-check this before purchasing a plan so you know what to expect.

How Can I Know I’m Choosing the Best Web Hosting Provider?

The best way to choose a web hosting service is to know what you need and want. There are so many options and alternatives to WP Engine that the important thing is that you know what you value most and what you’re willing to compromise on.

WP Engine tends to be the best overall experience for beginners and professionals alike. However, it’s worth looking into the reviews to get a feel for the strengths and weaknesses of each provider.

Take the time to know your business, decide on your priorities, and then carefully consider our list to find the best fit for you.

Final Considerations on Our List and WP Engine Review

The most suitable hosting service for you will be one that you enjoy working with and that keeps your site up and running adequately. We hope that going through this WP Engine review and reviews on alternatives to WP Engine has helped you understand which web hosting provider will be the best fit for you and your website.

©2022 The Sacramento Bee. Visit sacbee.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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