With the most expensive entry level pricing, WPEngine is also packed with the most features, and is our personal choice. It’s also very affordable at the mid and upper pricing levels.
When choosing between the top offerings of WP Engine, Page.ly and ZippyKid, almost all will offer a great experience – your site will be lightning fast and your WordPress org will be automatically upgraded, backed up, and routinely scanned for Malware. So what sets WP Engine apart?
One Click Restore
The first is their one-click restore. While everyone says they will back up your site, the speed and reliability of the restore is what impacts your experience the most.
For instance, what happens if you are upgrading a plugin that takes your site offline? Do you then have to painstakingly restore your backup yourself with phPMyAdmin? Or file a ticket with support and wait for them to respond? With WP Engine, you log into WPEngine’s portal, click ‘Restore’ and wait about 15-20 seconds before your site is back to the way it was yesterday. That’s it – you’re back online minutes after you took your site down. And because they backup daily, you never have to go back more than 24 hours.
Suddenly realize that you shouldn’t have restored your site to an earlier day? You can even ‘Restore’ to the moment before you first clicked the restore button. It’s like a magic time machine – you just pick the point in time and WP Engine takes you there. You can also initiate a backup at any point, and they remind you to do this every time you upgrade a plugin.
Staging and Production areas
The other one-click technology I like from WP Engine is their staging environment. With a single button, you can copy your site to a staging area with it’s own isolated environment. SFTP access can also be selectively given out to staging but not production. And, when you are ready, click another button to copy staging back to production.
Now, two other hosts offer staging areas. ZippyKid provides what they call a staging environment, but it’s not quite the same. With theirs, you can clone your production site (and voila, you now have a staging site) but you can’t copy that site back. You could presumably move the main domain from one site to another, accomplishing effectively the same thing, but it seems a little less smooth.
Another host that offers a staging area is SiteGround but they are more of a full-featured generic host with add-ons, and not a dedicated WordPress Managed Host. SiteGround’s offering presumes you want the ability to get your hands dirty with managing your own environment. Personally, I view the ability to edit my CPanel as a minus, not a plus. I want managed hosting because I don’t want to personally tweak my settings. If you don’t know what CPanel is, all the more reason not to use SiteGround, as all the other managed hosts take that off your hands.
WPEngine might have a high entry point but they become downright inexpensive at the higher levels. Once you have 10 Websites, it’s hard to find a more affordable host, and they still offer the most features.