Moving from one shared hosting environment to another was a lot of stress for me due to one problem or another. Sometimes it was their server’s performance. Other times the hosting company was complaining that my website was consuming way more resources than they allocated to my account. It was all very frustrating.
Looking for a better solution and to give myself a peace of mind, I decided to go for a managed WordPress hosting service. I knew it was going to cost me at least 15-20 times more than I was paying in a shared hosting environment, but I also knew I needed to get rid of those shared hosting issues.
By the way, you can check out my recent post where I shared why Managed WordPress Hosting is desired for serious bloggers and online entrepreneurs.
So, I decided to bite the bullet and signed up for what they call 'the BMW of managed hosting', WP Engine. I signed up for a $900 yearly plan and moved 3 of my websites, excited to see how my website performance and overall experience improves.
After All, Not Everybody Can Be Happy In A BMW
Within my first month of hosting with WP Engine, I started to notice small little problems and the more I interacted, the more concerned I grew.
Since I was already using MAXCDN prior to moving to WP Engine, I didn’t see much of an improvement in my website’s performance. In fact, I didn’t see any improvement in page loading times at all (and sometimes, it was slower.)
The second thing I noticed was, I saw a surge in the number of “http requests” my website was making after moving to WP Engine and I wanted this to be investigated as well.
Problem With CloudFlare?
Initially, they said my performance was impacted due to CloudFlare because of which my website is not leveraging the real power of WP Engine and all their assets. So I said, okay, let me disable it and then let’s see if it makes any difference.
But when I did that, it didn’t solve any problem. In fact, my website load time increased and the number of http requests didn’t even budge.
Problem With My WordPress Theme?
Then they said that my theme had a code to buffer objects which was conflicting with their server’s settings and therefore it was causing a problem for my pages to load correctly.
“What is the solution to this problem?”, I asked.
The answer was very simple. I needed to change my theme if I wished to see any improvement or else, I would have to continue to use CloudFlare the way I was using it and get the performance I was getting (about which I wasn’t happy in the first place.)
That was my tipping point because I couldn’t afford to put my time and energy in changing my theme so I could just remain hosted there. I couldn’t even imagine changing my website simply for being able to be hosted by them. This was a little too much for me to handle within my first month!
W3 Total Cache Not Allowed
They have many blacklisted plugins and this happens to be the one I was used to using very well. Now, in their environment, I wasn’t able to use this plugin and I believe that the increase in the number of HTTP requests were because of not being able to use W3TC.
About Their Pricing And Overage Charges
The reason I was prompted to share my experience with WP Engine (although I moved out of their servers several months ago) is this article from the owner of ShoutMeLoud.com, Harsh Agrawal . Harsh, who has recently moved his websites to WP Engine servers, shares his experience of being charged heavy monthly charges in overage due to higher than covered traffic on his $250 a month plan.
Now, he is in a unique position where that kind of traffic needs your server to be up and running for 100% of the time which WP Engine guarantees. But he doesn’t seem to be happy about the charges he is paying because he thinks that the way WP Engine does their traffic calculation isn’t fair.
They Are A Good Host, Just Not A Good Fit For Me
I still think WP Engine is a great company with great hosting features (Some really great features such as CDN and staging area included). They are good at what they do.
They have great support as well. They have knowledgeable staff which promptly responds to the tickets, investigates your issues and they are approachable even through the weekends. I heard that now they also have an online chat system where you can chat with your support staff which is the closest you can get to the phone support, right?
They guarantee 100% uptime, daily backup, automatic upgrades and what not. They put you on a premium CDN plan powered by MaxCDN and really help your website performance go through the roof if you never had such performance before.
But my problem? I already had a pretty nicely performing website and I already had done my homework before I moved.
So, I was looking for at least the performance I was already getting which I couldn’t get. On top of that, they began complaining about my theme which was one of the most respected WordPress themes highly recommended by people like Michael Hyatt.
So, it wasn’t a right fit for my situation. Therefore, I decided to move out. I used the same money to get my own fully managed high-end server, powered it with extra RAM and things like NGINX, FastCGI, APC and got my server up to the speed.
Now, I’m a happy camper with a world class server that can handle all kinds of traffic situation (or so I believe). And now, my team at Krishna World Wide Hosting proudly handles all my websites and our client's websites.
Now, It’s Your Turn. Have Your Say
Do you have any experience with a managed WordPress hosting service such as WP Engine? If so, what has been your experience?
If you don’t have an experience, do you think going for a managed WordPress hosting service is a good idea if you are able to afford their charges? What do you say about that?
Please share your thoughts through your comments. Thank you kindly!
Excellent writeup Gauraw… One reason I’m sticking with WpEngine is complete peace of mind.. They are undoubtedly costlier than so many good options out there and if I will have enough time, I would prefer moving it to my own VPS….but right now I consider “Time is money” and with them I don’t have to worry about site down time or even site getting hacked… But again, it’s not for everyone specially when there are some good alternative out there….
Meanwhile who is managing your VPS? Did you configure yourself or hired someone to do it for you?
After your feedback about KnownHost (which you wrote sometime ago when you used them), I decided to try them and so far I am extremely pleased with their service. They configured NGINX for me, manage very well, support is excellent and my site has never been down since last 6 months (although I don’t have your kind of traffic 🙂 ).
Best of all, I get better speed that I got with WP Engine. And yes, I have a couple of developers offshore who I work with on technical aspects.
Thank you for dropping by and adding value. Appreciate you taking time for that.
Some of the issues you were having with WP Engine sounds like what they were telling me over at Bluehost before I moved. Luckily for me when I did move to Smackhunt the performance of my blog being on a hosted server wasn’t the issue. As you just read my post, it’s the service that I’ve been having a problem with and with their recent hack it just sent me over the edge.
In a perfect world I’d love to be on my own server so that it could once again handle all of my sites with no problem. I’m just scared of the lack of support because of it and of course at this very moment in time I can’t afford the costs.
Only time will tell with what direction I end up going but I so appreciate you sharing your experience with me. I have no doubt that things will really continue to run smoothly from here on out.
I hope things work out for you as you expect ASAP. I know how much headache it is to know that your site has been hacked and worst yet the whole server!
I had a similar experience when InMotion Hostint’s east coast data center security was breached while I was still hosted and my website was down for a few hours. However, my content was secure and they communicated it really really well.
Among shared hosting environments, I highly recommend InMotion Hosting. They are professional, their support is great and very responsive. At the same time, their systems are fast. They were the best shared hosting companies I have seen who are big and yet do their job very well. May be you should check them out if shared hosting is what you are looking for (with a great service).
Have a great rest of the week!
I can’t thank you enough. I have not had any issues at all since you began looking after my hosting. It makes the issues with Blue Host a thing of the past. I wasted hours and hours on the phone with them and still got nowhere. What was really annoying was being on the phone with the senior tech who knew the answers, could have immediately resolved them, but insisted that I write (via snail mail) a letter to the company outlining the issues.
I am glad that you decided to switch your hosting on my servers! It has been great working with you and to be of service to you 🙂
Your testimonial is a great confidence builder for my team. We feel proud that you, as our hosting customer, are happy with the services we are offering! Thank you.
Thank you for sharing your knowledge on servers.
I am thrilled that I am taking steps to allow you to become the server for my site.
Thank you for this post that is vital for anyone that has a site.
Thank you for the opportunity. We will migrate your website tonight.
Welcome to the Krishna World Wide Team hosting service!
You are obviously quite technologically savvy and experienced. have been online and have learned quite a lot for many years, but I do not quite understand what a WP managed server is. Aren’t all hosting companies managed WP hosting, such as Blue Host and Cyberlynk, which I use?
What exactly does a managed WP hosting vs your own server do for your web site, your traffic, SEO, upload speeds, ??
Thank you for the appreciation 🙂 And okay, here is fundamental difference:
Hostgator, Godaddy, BlueHost etc. are not managed hosting services. They give you a hosting space and it is your responsibility to manage your website/issues/backups (if they help you, it’s because they are being helpful.) If you have an issue which is slightly technical, most normal hosts will say,”We don’t support 3rd party applications. So you need to talk to your developer or WordPress forums.”
On the other hand, Managed WordPress services means all the technical problems of your WordPress are taken care by the host such as Plugin updates, daily backups, security watch, recovery from hack, much better website speed and much better resource allocation on the server for your website. These are the reasons most website owners (especially small business owners) struggle and managed hosts provide that peace of mind.
After struggling with companies like BlueHost, GoDaddy and InMotion which provide shared hosting, I switched to managed hosting with WP Engine and then decided to have my own Managed Hosting Service because I realized that I was able to do better for my website on my servers than paying more money with WP Engine 🙂
Have a great day!
Thanks for explaining why you chose Managed WordPress Services. So far, I have received assistance from my hosting service when there was a hack or other major problem. However, they do not update my plugins or watch out for security problems. Since I have several web sites, that is a challenge to keep all the plugins up to date. And I have no idea about the speed.
That’s true Dr. Erica. One website is easy to manage by ourselves. However, when you’ve a business to take care of and many websites to keep up with, it’s better to let somebody who knows the stuff, handle the stuff 🙂
This is where managed services come into picture.
I tried them and it didn’t work out. So, I decided to hire my own team and not only manage our websites but also offer this service to others who are in similar situations at an affordable rate. Our service is not yet made public but it’s coming soon.
Thank you for coming back again and sharing your thoughts. Have a great weekend!
I haven’t tried the WP Engine but from your review it seems like they are a good solution if your site or blog is compatible with their service.
Am using hostgator VPS and it is holding pretty good so far. My site is a huge site and a level 5 VPS is sustaining good at this moment. However, hostgator has issues every 2 to 3 months and that is when i start looking for alternatives… otherwise am pretty happy with my hosting.
When I was on a shared hosting, i had similar issues. Most shared hosts provides very little resources which increases the downtimes a lot. Am happy to see that you are satisfied on a VPS now, I recommend the same to others.
That’s exactly right Uttoran. Shared hosts are not for people who are consistently looking to grow their traffic and online footprint. It’s good enough for new bloggers who want to try things out or people who don’t grow their websites after certain level where they are satisfied.
Beyond that, VPS and then dedicated server is the option. HostGator is a great company and I am sure they have taken good care of you so far. Thank you for sharing your story with us!
I feel your pain Kumar – seriously! I’ve been experiencing similar problems with one of my sites for the last 3 months and it has not been fun. I also got the same run around as far as what the potential problem was. I’m planning to launch a new site next month and will be using a different hosting company – I can already see the difference in service (in a very good way) so I’m hoping all goes well as I start work on setting the site up this weekend. Thanks for sharing – it’s always good to know you’re not the only one experiencing these challenges.
Yes, you are not alone in this 🙂 There are many of us who keep running into the issues and that’s the sign that we are growing 🙂
Have a great weekend.
Congratulations on your new server and thank you so much for sharing such an honest review with us. WP Engine was never an option for me because I honestly don’t have that sort of budget for hosting. Having read this, I realize that there is no one-size fits all solution and that what I should worry about first is optimizing my site the best that I can to start with.
As I read through the comments, I saw that you recommended InMotion to Adrienne as a shared hosting vendor that she should consider. Like Adrienne, I need to find another hosting vendor and I value your opinion. So, I’ll definitely add them to my short-list of webhosts to consider.
I also wanted to let you know that I found your explanation of managed hosting (in reply to Erica) to be helpful as well. Great conversation here! I’m so glad that we found each other’s’ blogs!
In the shared hosting space, if there is some company I will recommend, it will be InMotion Hosting (affiliate link) – highly. They are the best (although not the cheapest) with good support, great performing servers and if there is something wrong with your site/plugin/process, they will tell you straight. They don’t play games and I like that.
When I moved out of InMotion, it was because I wanted to try out managed services (obviously that is when WP Engine came into picture) and eventually I ended up having my own server now where I am able to serve a few other people as well.
So, if shared hosting is something you want to continue with and you want to try a new host, InMotion is definitely something I would recommend.
Well, I am not one of the big (or medium or small sized) bloggers out there. I am still a tiny blogger (not just in terms of my size…a lot of people can’t believe that I am 20. The closest they will guess is around 16 or 17), so I haven’t had much of an experience with managed hosting (or hosting server).
I am planning to do it in the future, though (a dedicated server). Although that’s too far out there…maybe in like 1-2 years? Not sure, everything depends upon how fast my blog grows 😀
That being said, I am sorry to hear that you didn’t have a good experience with WP Engine…perhaps it is for the better, who knows?
But, thanks you for sharing this, Kumar 🙂
Oh it was definitely for better Jeevan! If not for my experience, I wouldn’t have thought of having my own server and then professionally launching a hosting service where others could benefit from my team’s experience of hosting a website with much flexible rates and features! I am glad it happened 🙂
Your blog will grow as long as you keep doing what you are doing, keep learning and applying what you are learning! I have no doubt your blog will grow beyond your imagination. Just keep up your great work and keep pushing. Challenges will come, don’t give up!
If you need any help, please let me know. I will be glad to help anyway I could.
Hi Kumar, sorry to hear you’ve had so many challenges, they can all waste a lot of time. Some years ago, I was helping out with the technical side of a fairly large community, that was using it’s own servers stored in a secure, air-conditioned location. It was convenient for them to have their own servers, but also costly because they had to pay to store the machines and for someone to be available to switch them on or off if necessary.
I’ve been with Hostgator for years and they’ve been very helpful when my blog has been hacked into or even when there’s been a problem with wordpress that they knew how to fix right away. I had hosting with an Australian company once, and experienced a lot of down time as well as slowness – I think they guy running the company was having “teething issues”.
LOL! Teething issues! That’s a great way to look at it and yes, new companies do run through that phase I believe.
Glad to know Hostgator has been a great place for you so far and I am not surprized because a lot of my friends are happy there. They are a great company for shared hosting environment for sure.
Thank you for dropping by and sharing your thoughts Julieanne. Have a great weekend!
Your analysis is quite thorough and enough for anyone who is considering using WP Engine. However, the responses to their complaints really did crack me up! I remember a support staff from Duda Mobile telling me that the reason why their services were abysmal for me was because I’d set my feeds option to ‘summary’.
Guess what? I did change that option but got no results! Then the story changed to something else. It was at that point too that I knew I had to look out for any alternative.
Thanks for the review…when my site needs special servers, I’m pretty sure I’ll not be considering WP Engine!
When you are ready for upgrading your hosting to a managed service, hopefully you will consider Krishna World Wide 🙂
I am in process of launching our Krishna World Wide Team’s managed services for small business owners for a much affordable rates with all important features that small business owners struggle with and we are currently serving a handful of customers and friends to test our capabilities and results are quiet encouraging.
So, when you are considering that option, please do let me know and may be we can be of your service at the time?
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and have a wonderful weekend!
That would be any execellent idea Kumar…it’s my word that I would consider your company when that time comes!
Are you the founder, co-founder or principal partner to this company?
Yes Terungwa. I am the founder of the company 🙂 Thank you!
Great Kumar! As the founder of the company, I’ll be more relaxed doing business with you because I know you’ll appreciate the pain bloggers go through in search of reliable hosting!
You’ll be getting a mail from me, sooner than later.
I was scratching my head over this one until Dr. Erica Goodstone asked the question that was in my mind. Your response cleared it all up for me. When it comes to these technical things I go into ADHD mode lol.
I thank you for explaining how hosting works. I’m currently with Hostgator and didn’t have any problems yet. But now I’m putting my product on JV Zoo, and they use Hostgator. It’s been 3 weeks of phone calls and messages and they cannot figure out what to do. Needless to say, hubby is taking care of that part because I don’t have the proper technical language to communicate with them.
So far, fingers crossed, but one more week of this and I have to figure out a plan B.
Thanks so much for explaining this,
I’ve got your message on FB as well and I will be glad to have an opportunity to be part of your plan B 🙂
I am glad to know that this post was helpful and yes, once our blogs/websites grow beyond a size that shared hosts start to complain/trouble, it’s time to look for a better solution. Managed services are especially helpful when you don’t want to deal with everyday technical issues, backup and security risks.
I will send you information about Krishna World Wide hosting services separately. Thank you for your interest in our services.
Sorry to hear about your problems Kumar but I am happy you have got it sorted now!
I had loads of problems with Hostgator before I moved and I was spending more time
dealing with them than actually blogging! I am so glad I have moved now as everyday
I hear about people complaining about them or they going down!
I read somewhere once that we should choose a host in the same country as where
your website/blog is from. I found a great company and have written a blog about them
The best thing about my hosting providers is that they are super powerful, got great
customer service (I know all of them personally now), they have the experience in the
industry (10 years) and they are small enough to be personal yet big enough to compete
with the big boys!
I basically love going for the underdog and the little known companies as you get a lot
more generally as they are more personal and have a lot more to prove than the big
companies. After all why go with the flow and follow the heard! I take the less beaten
path all the time to be unique and individual.
Great post buddy and great to be here!
– Phillip Dews
That’s right Phillip.
Small companies have a lot more to offer in terms of service and quality of the service. I am glad to know that you are happy with this choice. If I was you, probably I would have done the same if I was looking for a host. However, I decided to make my own company and run the show for people who trust me 🙂
And so far, I am excited about what we are doing with it. Thank you for dropping by and sharing your thoughts!
Excellent article, Kumar.
So much good advice.
Donna and I have our blogs and other sites on Hostgator shared server. So far, we’ve had no major problems, but I’ve recently added WP Pipeline plugin to help manage things, so I hope that will help. Of course, there’s always the front end issues to deal with, too, like redesigning the look of the blogs, replacing optin boxes and so forth. Not sure where to turn for those things.
Now that we’ve created a product that will be on a WP membership site, I’m thinking of a managed host to keep things working smoothly, and will certainly have a look at your company. I’m sure it is as trustworthy an alternative as there is.
Thank you David! Appreciate you taking time to share your thoughts.
I haven’t used WP Pipeline but I know a few people who have used it. I hope you find it helpful. I would love to know how you find it.
And regarding my company’s service, we are still underdogs, working with a small circle of customers who also happen to be great blogging friends. That way, we have kept the beta testing of our offering and results have been very encouraging so far.
We are still in process of designing our public offering and so you might not have found much details of our service on my blog/company website yet. But soon it will be available.
Meanwhile, if you would like to discuss about our service, I would love to share the information with you on email and/phone.
Nice write-up. I have to admit, I don’t know much about services and hosting. That is a black hole to me although I blog. I’ve been blessed I guess as the hosting company I use has been perfect so far and their customer service has always been phenomenal so I have no complaints.
But if you get a moment, maybe you can explain the difference between hosted services vs. ‘other hosting.’ I don’t understand it all. It would be a nice article for you to write as many of us just don’t understand. Relating to experiences on website traffic and how it effects your blog would be awesome. 😉 It would certainly help me out.
Anyway, this article was a great start and thanks.
That’s a great idea that you just recommended. I am certainly going to put together a post in near future to explain the differences. Thank you for the suggestions 🙂
It seems hard to find the perfect hosting. I know Adrienne has had many problems with her previous hosting and her present hosting is now creating problems for her as well, and Here you are with yours.
I can’t complain, myself, I haven’t had much problem so far, and I’m not ready to pay the price of a dedicated server yet. That’s quite a difference in price, isn’t it?
Thank you for sharing your story.
There is a significant difference in pricing when it comes to shared hosting VS dedicated server (or managed hosting). Your budget allocation has to allow you to go for such a thing and it depends on your business needs.
I needed it because I didn’t want to deal with hosting issues, performance problems and more importantly, I didn’t want my hosting company to shut me down at a time when my traffic was rising because of resource usage limitations, traffic going out of their quota for me etc. I like to have control and going for my own server game me the control so I decided to bite the bullet 🙂
Great write up on hosting services. Although I work in IT I don’t know too much about the hosting services like the difference between managed and VPS. But I definitely would like to add this to my vocabulary since this would be good to know for future references. So far, I haven’t had a lot of problems with my hosting, but just from some discussions I’ve seen, as soon as you reach a certain threshold when it comes to traffic it’s good to look into VPS. This might be a great topic for you to write about on one of your future posts!
Thanks for sharing!
Its really frustrating for a website owner to see his site down or face performance issues from the server side. I started with GoDaddy hosting and their service was pathetic I must say.
Then I switched to hostgator shared hosting and that was when I found relief. They have been excellent so far and their customer service is top class.
I have even moved my site to VPS now. Their pricing fits my pockets and so I am a happy blogger now.
Thanks for sharing your experience with us.
I'll never go with Managed WordPress hosting,they are too costly a new blogger who doesn't earns a lot can't even think about that. I hate shared hosting also,actually personally i feel that they are making fool of those who are not aware about hosting and these technical things and terms(Unlimited hosting and bandwidth).
Most of the sites i manage are now on Unmanaged VPS (I can manage them myself,that isn't so hard),they are cheap also as compare to any other option and i am thinking to move all the sites now to the same VPS.
Hi Janmejai, That is absolutely the best idea for somebody like yourself who understands technicalities of managing a VPS. That’s exactly what I thought when I moved out of WP ENGINE. But then, I know many others who either hate technical stuff or who don’t want to get distracted from their core business for managing server or their website. Managed Hosting is for them.
However, I wouldn’t recommend free platforms to any business owner because it isn’t worth it.
Good to hear from you and glad to know you are doing great with your VPS 🙂
That is indeed one painful lesson.
I have been considering moving hosts, but now that I hear these painful stories, I wonder what I will be getting into!
Not being able to do what you want with WP Engine kinda surprises me. But then again, if they are there to control and help non-tech people, then I guess they want to disable things that mess up that “control”.
Hmm, so I need to reconsider who I would go with. Perhaps my own hosted server is in the long run what I need too.
Thanks for sharing your experiences here