SiteGround Vs. WP Engine (2020) – WordPress Hosting
Both platforms are 2 of the most famous hosting services available today, but that doesn’t mean they’re 2 versions of the same platform. SiteGround offers different hosting solutions—from standard to managed WordPress hosting—whereas WP Engine focus solely on managed WP hosting.
Today, we’ll go through both platforms and their features. For this review, I’ll focus solely on their managed WordPress service—after all, if you wanted any other type of hosting, you wouldn’t be considering WP Engine.
Both platforms have their own advantages and disadvantages. They have somewhat similar features, but there’s always something in which one of the 2 falls short and the other one succeeds.
Therefore, I’ll take you through the most important factors, like their speed and uptime. Just keep in mind all tests are conducted using shared hosting instead of dedicated plans, so some features might be missing.
With that out of the way, lets take a look at both platforms first.
As mentioned, SiteGround offers different plans for hosting your website; you have the standard web and WordPress hosting, and there’s even a dedicated WooCommerce hosting plan.
Every plan is further divided into 3 additional options. Each one has its own set of features, with StartUp being the most basic and limited to a single domain. If you want more space, unlimited domains, and extra features, you can upgrade to either GrowBig or—if you need even more—GoGeek.
Other options include hosting your website in a cloud, dedicated servers, and personalized structure for enterprise requirements.
WP Engine focuses on managed hosting for WordPress, and it has plans for different business sizes: from small businesses to enterprises and even agencies. There are 4 plans available, each one adding more features to the previous.
The Startup plan lets you host a single website with up to 10GB in storage and 50GB in bandwidth. The Growth plan lets you host 5 websites with up to 20GB in storage and 200GB for bandwidth; it also adds 24/7 phone support. Scale increases that to 15 sites, 30GB in storage and 400GB for bandwidth plus imported SSL.
Finally, the custom plan offers over 25 sites, 100GB or more for storage, and 400GB or more for bandwidth; you can add advanced features as well. This plan is an exception since you’re free to add features you need; these include geotargeting, onboarding, and more.
WP Engine supports Genesis Frameworks and Performance Intelligence Suite, among other developer solutions.
Both platforms are quite popular, but SiteGround as a larger user base—most likely due to it having more hosting solutions. Managed WordPress hosting is fairly niche when it comes to audiences.
SiteGround also claims more than 2 million domains hosted with its service, and WP Engine lowers this figure to about 500,000 for itself.
You can check out both platform’s websites if you want to take a look into what they offer. However, we’ll also include them here, separated into 4 main categories as per industry standards.
Speed and stability are critical for any website, and they’re highly dependent on how close you’re located to a data center. That’s also why it’s standard practice for hosting services to offer multiple data centers located all around the world, often in different continents.
SiteGround has 5 centers around the world, and they’re spread between North America (2 in the US), Western Europe (1 in the UK and 1 in the Netherlands), and Asia (1 in Singapore).
WP Engine has double the amount of data centers in the shared plans only via Google Cloud, and dedicated plans get 8 AWS servers added. There are 3 centers in the US, 1 in Canada, 3 in Western Europe, 2 in Asia, and 1 in Australia.
Solid-state drivers provide lots more speed than your standard hard drive. After data centers, these can do wonders for your host’s performance.
Now, both platforms offer SSDs for each plan available, and WP Engine takes an extra step; it adds its own measures to prevent RAM saturation by distributing added load without swaps.
NGINX is a type of HTTP server known for its high-performance. It acts as a reverse proxy to make loading static content a lot faster.
SiteGround offers this solution in both its cloud and shared plans. WP Engine uses its own NGINX extension, and this lets it prioritize organic (human) requests over automated ones—the latter including bots and scripts; it makes user experience a lot better.
Web protocols are very important when improving loading times regardless of user location, and you have HTTP/2, CDN, and PHP7 even in the shared plans.
For SiteGround, you also get a free CDN from CloudFare and features like Linux containers to improve uptime.
On the other hand, WP Engine offers both CDN and MaxCDN for free, but it’s only for your first 1,000GB. It doesn’t look like they offer Linux containers like SiteGround.
This one is simple, it’s just how much server space can be used by your website. SiteGround lets you use 10GB, 20GB, and 30GB depending on your subscription tier. Interestingly, WP Engine offers the same space for each of its 3 plans.
It’s actually quite hard to break these limits, and you usually need to worry only if you use many HD videos and visuals. File storage can also increase your required space, but both practices aren’t recommended, anyways.
Keeping backups for your website can be the difference between recovering from an emergency or losing months of work because of it.
SiteGround offers an excellent backup service for what you’re paying. It stores daily backups, and these last for either an entire month or week, depending on whether you’re using shared or could hosting. You can head over to your cPanel to restore your backups.
Outside the StartUp plan, you can also get on-demand site backups for free, and you can create a maximum of 5 at any given time. You can create on-demand backups with the StartUp plan, but you have to pay extra.
WP Engine also offers an excellent policy for backups, and I’d actually say it’s an advantage over SiteGround. Besides, automatic daily backups, you can create your own backups manually.
You have space for 40 backups at a time, but you can increase it all the way to 60 if you reach out to customer support. You can manage your backups, including creation and downloads, from your user portal.
Sites and subdomains
Hosting several websites under a single plan is a huge advantage for everyone; it’s also a vital feature for webmasters.
Thankfully, SiteGround lets you host all the websites you want in the GrowBig and GoGeek plans. Therefore, it’s the best solution in this regard.
That’s because WP Engine limits how many websites you can host on each of the four plans, as we already detailed. If you want to host over 15 sites, you’ll need to get a Custom plan.
However, both platforms let you host as many parked domains and subdomains as you need.
WP Engine limits your bandwidth depending on which plan you access. We also covered this and how it ranges between 50GB and 400GB; Custom plans let you access more than that.
However, it’s still a disadvantage against SiteGround since you don’t have limits with SiteGround, regardless of which plan you’re using. You can receive as much traffic as you want with all plants, but the company expects you keep it at a reasonable amount.
Still, SiteGround will only go as far as to give you tips and help to reduce your bandwidth usage, whereas WP Engine simply caps it.
SiteGround comes with its own email services, and you can create as many accounts as you want with them. Just keep in mind that you do have quota limits for your 3 plans: 2GB for StartUp, 4GB for GrowBig, and 6GB for GoGeek.
You can use 3 different clients when setting up your service.
WP Engine doesn’t come with any email service or mailbox creation, but it shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s deeply specialized in WP hosting and nothing else, but it’s still a considerable disadvantage if you’re a webmaster or just want to keep your service within the main platform.
Luckily, it doesn’t present any troubles when using third-party platforms, but it’s still surpassed by SiteGround.
SiteGround supports from between 10,000 and 100,000 visitors every month, yet it’s easily beaten by WP Engine. The latter starts at 25,000 visitors and grows well over a million every month.
However, both platforms are otherwise quite similar in terms of features. Both support quick installs, automatic updates for both your system and plugins, integrated caching, and even staging areas. Plugin updates are somewhat of an exception in both cases since it depends on each plugin developer.
Therefore, it’s only a matter of how many visitors you can receive every month. Still, WP is a winner in this category.
Speed is easily one of the most important metrics when it comes to web hosting; it’s no coincidence that our previous technologies section focused on how each implementation helped increase website speed.
In case you don’t know, it’s not only due to user experience. Search engines value website speed when ranking your website; if you want to appear at the top Google or Bing results, you can’t have a slow site.
You can test both hosting services with different tools to measure how fast they are without having to look for specific websites. If you don’t want to do that, don’t worry; I already did so for you, and WP is a bit faster than SiteGround.
Now, that doesn’t mean SiteGround is slow. Both services are among the fastest options in the market, beating industry giants like HostGator and BlueHost. Regardless of the platform you use, your website will load in less than a couple of seconds.
That being said, WP Engine consistently ranked a few milliseconds faster than SiteGround—except for few tests. Just keep in mind that the difference between these metrics are milliseconds at most, and they’re location dependent. You might face different results.
However, results are mostly the same with different testing tools, so I’ll declare WP Engine as the winner here, but not by much.
Uptime refers to the time your website is continuously live and available for users. If your uptime dies out momentarily, that means your traffic is cut completely, and it’s a big deal for your SEO efforts.
Many factors contribute to downtimes: power issues, maintenance, etc. Not all websites are as dependent on uptime for their actual functionality; a good example would be websites for local stores. Still, that doesn’t mean downtime isn’t a problem.
Therefore, 99% uptime isn’t an exaggerated criterion when choosing a hosting service. Luckily, both platforms have over 99% uptime guarantee: SiteGround at 99.99% and WP Engine at 99.95%. Just remember claims aren’t the only (or best) way to measure this metric.
Thankfully, you can check out SiteGround’s measures to keep their uptime. With that in mind, both platforms can be tested and show similar results. Therefore, I could declare a tie since both have well over 99% uptime, but WP Engine has a more consistent 100% uptime.
Hosting services with uptime guarantees usually offer compensation in case you experience dips below the minimum they advertise.
SiteGround gives a free hosting month if your uptime ever falls under 99.99%. Each percentage point after that grants you one extra month for free.
On the other hand, WP Engine gives you back 5% of your monthly subscription for every downtime hour you experience. These hours are outside maintenance and certain events. You have 30 days to contact customer support, which makes up an overall standard policy.
As you can see, SiteGround offers a much more generous compensation policy, so it makes up for its slightly weaker uptime rates.
Customer support isn’t a technical feature for hosting services, but it matters more than you’d think. If something goes wrong, it can save you quite a bit of money; besides, everyone who’s dealt with lousy customer support knows how frustrating it can be.
SiteGround offers some of the best customer support I’ve seen, and it’s really a highlight in their service. You can send support tickets, talk to the via chat 24/7, and even call them if everything else is too slow for your needs.
Their delivery is as good as their availability, though. You can check out a profile for every agent you interact with, and they even have overstaff shifts to improve their service speed. Agents know everything you might ask about the platform, and they’re always nice with everyone.
I’ve personally never encountered a problem they couldn’t solve. They also have technical experts to help you with more advanced issues.
WP Engine doesn’t really fall behind here, and you can also reach out to them via email, live chat and phone. You can do everything from your account, and there’s a help center with all the knowledge and resources you’ll need to troubleshoot your own issues.
You can even contact separate office locations to suit your own time zones better. Their website also features a live chat window in case you don’t know where to start.
Just like SiteGround, I didn’t run into any issues they couldn’t solve during my time using the platform. They’re quick to respond, and they’re just as friendly as SiteGround’s support.
The only issue I’ve found with WP Engine’s support is that they limit support features depending on your plan. Startup users don’t have access to phone support 24/7, and only Enterprise customers can send support tickets to the 24/7 line.
Therefore, I need to declare SiteGround as the winner in this category, but it’s not an overwhelming victory.
SiteGround offers a seamless transfer for your own website for free in all plans except the most basic one. However, you need to consider that additional requests cost $30; you can request paid transfers even in the StartUp plan.
Other than that, I haven’t run into any limitations for the amount of websites and email accounts you’re allowed to transfer with SiteGround. Requesting them is quite easy, and you can do it from your personal account; you also get to choose whether you want to transfer a single website or a complete cPanel with several.
If there’s a professional transfer service for WP Engine, I definitely didn’t find it—at least in the plan I was using. Nevertheless, they do offer a feature that I consider could be even better than that.
All WP Engine accounts come with their own plugin for WordPress migration. You can simply install this plugin into the older site you want to migrate and go through a few steps to migrate the entire site.
You can also backup your website files and using them in your current account. If this sounds complicated, don’t worry; WP Engine’s help center has a guide explaining the process.
Overall, SiteGround lets you migrate websites way faster, and they do offer a free migration with your higher-tier plans. However, WP Engine lets you use a simple plugin, and the backup workaround is really useful if you have the patience.
I’d say the winner here boils down to your own preference.
Safety should always be one of your primary concerns. Attacks from hackers, bots, and more are always a possibility, so it’s vital for your hosting service to be as secure as possible.
SiteGround doesn’t take this lightly. You get a free SSL certificate with all websites hosted in the platform, and you can access both SSH and SFTP with all accounts. Their PHP7 support we mentioned is another great addition, too.
You also get systems to block any bot and attacker immediately, and ModSecurity is included to help you stay safe. Finally, you also get a site scanner from Sucuri with your account, and you can use it to detect malware daily. This service costs less than $2 monthly.
WP Engine documents its security practices on their website, so feel free to head over if you want a deeper look. According to them, they block well over 100 million attacks every month.
They have dynamic inspections that detect any potential threat and block it immediately. Their engineers also keep track of any required plugin updates before releasing any official updates. Similarly, they’re always keeping an eye on the NGINX level to block any attack.
It doesn’t stop at their main structure, either. They constantly monitor vulnerable plugins to keep you from installing a hazard, and customer sites receive upgrades as soon as possible every time they implement security updates.
The only annoying issue with WP Engine is that it often disables plugins if they consider them hazardous, but this is often for your own good.
Overall, I’d say this is a tie, but I’d give SiteGround an edge for letting you scan your website with Sucuri’s scanner.
Both platforms offer the same amount of pricing options, but WP is considerably more expensive—even without taking SiteGround’s discounts into the equation.
You can expect to pay almost $12, $20, and $35 depending on your SiteGround plan. However, WP Engine’s plans are consistently more expensive, with the basic plan just over $29 and going all the way to almost $242 for the highest tier.
While WP Engine does include a few services for free, many people might not find these as enough justification for the price. Therefore, If you’re on a budget, SiteGround is the winner here without a doubt.
The best choice for you depends on what you need.
If you want the most features available solely for WordPress—and you have the budget—then WP Engine is a better choice overall.
However, SiteGround is my main recommendation if you want to sacrifice a few features for an overall better value-price relation. If you’re a new entrepreneur and don’t know how to decide, SiteGround is the overall most intuitive solution.
I hope you found this review useful and if you have any questions, please comment down below. I’ll be more than happy to assist you.
Once again, thanks for reading my SiteGround Vs WP Engine and I wish you the best of luck.