Why Your Business Must Avoid WP Engine At All Costs

When I first moved my WordPress hosting over to WP Engine I was highly impressed. They were very helpful, support took ownership of problems and site speed was incredible.

As someone that has been in the game as long as I have it is rare to find a hosting company that provided the level of support they did.

 But over the past 8 months things have started to go downhill in a serious way. 

I have gone from singing their praises, to telling everyone to avoid them.

Here is an example of just some of the things they have done-

  • Deleting live customer data without taking a backup
  • Injecting a link to their homepage in my footer without permission
  • Lots of site down time/slow loading
  • Losing connecting to the server in the post editor
  • Disabled fulltext mysql indexing without notification – this broke my RSS feed costing 60% of subscribers
  • Repeat broken promises from their co-founder
  • Support is a rolling joke

If I could write a list of things that a web host should never do – WP Engine has done them all. They are no longer the hassle-free wordpress hosting experts they claim to be.

In this post I will share my WPEngine experience across the last 18 months and above all, apologise to all of the readers that moved their sites over to WP-Engine off the back of my advice.

I am truly sorry about all of the problems you guys have had.

So let’s get down to business and why you should avoid WP Engine.

I should also highlight that it’s very difficult to find an honest wpengine review, because they pay ridiculous affiliate commissions compared to other hosting companies.

So with that said, let’s get down to business with the only honest wpengine review on the web.

Why Are There So Many Positive WP Engine Reviews?

If you search around, you will find endless WP Engine reviews that cast them in a positive light. And there is good reason for that…

But not because they are a good web host, it’s because they offer affiliates a whopping $200 commission per sale.

In other words so many people give positive reviews of WP Engine – for the money.

wpengine affiliate payout

If I can get someone to sign up to the $29 per month plan – WPEngine will pay me a $200 commission!

That is a 589% difference between what the customer spends with WPEngine versus what WPEngine payout to an affiliate which is precisely why there are so many positive reviews for WPEngine.

Especially when competing companies usually pay out in the $60-$120 range.

So if you have ever wondered why it’s possible to find so many positive reviews for WPEngine, well – money talks. Literally.

Let’s get into the meat & cheese of the only honest WPEngine review on the web.

Setting The Standard

When I first moved over to WPEngine 18 months ago the experience was absolutely awesome.

The support team were passionate about WordPress and it was clear they were experts at what they did. They knew WordPress inside out and were able to resolve any issue for you whether it was with a theme, plugin or WordPress core.

 I was amazed with everything and I can’t stress enough just how awesome they were.
Unfortunately setting this standard of awesomeness has ultimately led to my continued frustration and disappointment with them for a number of reasons.

Now the support team are clueless, it’s like a bunch of people that don’t really know anything about WordPress have taken over and are just typing a script back to you.

Some of the responses they give are comical at best.

(I’ll be sharing them throughout this post).

WPEngine pride themselves on how fast they are, so let’s start with that.

Website Speed

When I first moved over to WP Engine my sites load time improved by 27% which was worth an extra $16,609 per year to me.

This was one of the main reasons I moved to WP-Engine, but over time that has seriously degraded-

  • Loading the WP-admin login screen took 29 seconds
  • Logging into WP-admin took 27 seconds
  • Loading the comments area in the back end took 54 seconds
  • Approving a comment took 28 seconds
  • Loading a list of posts took 29 seconds

To put that in perspective to login and approve 1 comment it would take a total of 2 minutes & 38 seconds.

For every comment on the blog I wanted to approve, it took 54 seconds. That is a serious problem when you get as many comments as I do.

If you want to experience the pain in real time just watch this video-

Pretty painful right? Especially when they continue to advertise themselves as ‘insanely fast’.

Basically whenever the site has to read from or write to the MYSQL database the server cannot handle it. All of this started in the first week of May 2013.

502/504 Bad Gateway Errors

Continuing with the trend of database problems I started to get 502/504 bad gateway errors on the front end and back end of the site which started in the middle of May 2013.

As the months went on the problems got worse until 5 months later in October 2013 the site was completely unworkable. This was also the period when their support started to seriously degrade.

Instead of taking ownership of issues and fixing them like they used to, they consistently palm you off with irrelevant excuses & finger pointing.

The 502/504 bad gateway errors were causing a number of issues-

First of all it was taking my readers nearly 20 seconds to load posts on the blog. Even with their bespoke front end caching technology – which causes its own set of problems.

 If shaving just 1.848 seconds off my load time was worth an extra $16,609 to me a year, imagine how much money I was losing when load times increased 4 times over to 20 seconds.
Even my $0.99 per month host could load the site in 6.620 seconds.

Secondly, anytime I was trying to write or edit a post I was getting the error…

“Connection lost. Saving has been disabled until you’re reconnected. We’re backing up this post in your browser, just in case.”

This means that my local machine was losing connection with the server and timing out completely. This happened every single time I tried to edit, write or publish a post.

My previous $0.99 per month host didn’t have that problem.

Time To First Byte

On top of all of the above I had noticed that the Time To First Byte (TTFB) had increased to over 1 second.

This is the amount of time it takes to receive the first byte of data from the server after requesting a URL in your browser.

That is before the WordPress application, theme, plugins or files start to load. Bear that point in mind throughout this post as those are the things they always tried to blame.

This is also one of the key things that Google uses to determine site speed and search rankings.

Let The /Facepalms Begin!

Now I should point out when it comes to servers & hardware – I know my stuff.

I usually play dumb with most things to see if people are honest and the WP Engine support team have failed that test at every hurdle.


It was clear to me there was a bottleneck with the MYSQL database somewhere and 502/504 errors are usually because the server has run out of resources to process the request.

These are the things the WP Engine team tried to blame for the huge decreases in site speed and huge increases in 502/504 errors.

Update Plugins

The first thing was that outdated plugins will slow your site down. Here is the exact quote-


Which is funny, because the site had been using the exact same plugin versions when it was lightning fast.

But apparently because there were updates available to the plugins that slows your entire site down.

Database Table Size

The next thing they tried to blame was that a table in the database was too big. The table was only 50MB in size, the size a budget webhost can handle.

This table was part of the OIOPublisher banner advertising plugin that I use to serve ads on the site that would log stats when a reader loaded a page on the front end of the website.

They blamed the size of the table & the plugin itself, even though the plugin wasn’t getting called on the backend where most of the issues were.

I also pointed out to them that other much bigger blogs used the exact same plugin and were still lightning fast so it was unlikely the plugin was the issue.


I had also been running the exact same version of plugin for months without an issue – so on top of the above, it just didn’t make sense that was the issue.

But it was an easy issue for them to blame. So I did what they asked of me and it should come as no surprise that didn’t fix the issue.


It took them nearly 2 weeks to get to that after opening the initial ticket. What happened to all of the Worpdress experts?

Dodging Resource Allocation

One of the things I continued to ask support was how much actual CPU/RAM resource was allocated to each customers site.

This seems to be a very sticky question for WP Engine – a question I have asked over and over and over again, I even asked the co-founder to his face at Affiliate Summit.

The question either gets completely ignored or answered in a very vague way. If you are a current WP Engine customer ask the question, it’s funny watching them squirm with the answer.


Right from the beginning I had suspected they had overloaded servers and were unable to cope with their rapid growth.

After 2 weeks of going back and to with excuses they finally admitted the server was overloaded and they were going to move my site to a different server to see if that helps.


Problem solved right?  Wrong.

Break All The Things

When they moved me over to a new server not only was the site still slow, but now I had no access to FTP and users could not login.

Even I was locked out of my own admin area.

This was because when they moved the site to a new server, they proxied over the old IP to the new IP internally so there would be no downtime on the front end which is a fantastic solution – if it worked.

First of all WP Engine installs a plugin called Limit Login. They don’t tell you they have done this, it doesn’t appear in your list of plugins and you can’t change the settings. It is completely invisible to you as the website owner.

So every time a user logged in, because of how they proxied over the IP it appeared that every single user was logging in from the same IP and performing a brute force attack on the site which locked everyone out including me.

Luckily I had the knowledge to get into PHPMyAdmin and manually change the setting in the database to unlock it so at least I could access the admin area of my site.

At the same time I had no FTP access – it took nearly 5 days of going back and to with them to get a resolution. If I didn’t have the knowledge to unblock my admin access myself, I would have also been without admin access for 5 days as well.


As you can see I was starting to lose my patience with them. Even when you told them exactly what was wrong & exactly what needed to change to fix things – they still argued the point.

Until eventually they realised I was spot on with the solution, the first time I told it to them. Never mind the 3rd, 4th & 5th time.

So at this point, the site is on a new server, it is still slow, I had no FTP access for 5 days and if it wasn’t for my manual intervention I wouldn’t have had WP-Admin access for 5 days either.

Then just a few days later-


The blog had just hit the most popular story of the week on Inbound.org which was driving a lot of targeted traffic, if the site was actually online.

It was down for a total of 3 hours during what would of been a record setting day of traffic.

So much for the new server huh!

Deleting Live Customer Data Without Permission Or Backup

Less than 10 days later the site was down again reporting the same 502/503 bad gateway issues that were first reported to them over 6 months earlier on May 16th.


Continuing on the trend of excuses, this time they tried to blame the number of comments in the database.

So without my permission the WP Engine team took it upon themselves to clear out all of the spam comments on the live database without taking a backup first.


The problem with that is an awful lot of you guys get flagged as spam when you’re not, so I go through the spam comments manually each month to approve the genuine ones.

Plus after deleting my live data without my prior permission or taking a backup, it didn’t actually fix the problem! I was not a happy bunny.


Then they tried to blame the fact that the site was getting too many spam comments and was slowing the entire server down.

I checked the logs myself and the site was only getting 1-2 spam comments per minute. When I publish a new post I get more genuine comments per minute than that!

Even a budget web host could handle that load!

The solution – install a captcha form to stop all the spammers. Ironically the WordPress & security experts were unaware I could solve 1,000 captchas for just $1.39 while I’m asleep.

All that adding a captcha form does is inconvenience genuine users, it certainly doesn’t stop spammers.


All they needed to do was put the same time & effort into resolving problems as they put into creating excuses.

Grilling The Co-Founder Directly

At this point over 7 months after opening the first ticket about the speed problems, my patience was exhausted.

I flew half way around the world to Affiliate Summit West in Las Vegas to find the WP Engine co-founder Ben Metcalfe and explained all of the issues I have had.

He assured me that he would take control of the problems and resolve them all, not only that but he would give me 6 months of hosting free of charge.

Awesome! I was confident that everything was going to get fixed. Unfortunately the very next morning the site was down for nearly an hour.

After Affiliate Summit was over WPEngine got in touch with me to resolve the issues as quickly as possible.

Here is the full email conversation that we had – notice how they dodge the resource question, again.


At last they had their best guys working on the problem, after 7 months of complaining and flying half way around the world!

I could sit back in confidence knowing that all of my issues would be resolved at long last.

 I was wrong.

Amateur WordPress Experts

It turned out that their ‘top guys’ were just as clueless about how servers and WordPress works as anyone else.

Instead of trying to blame a plugin, this time they tried to blame the .htaccess file


Their top tech guy didn’t understand what basic level .htaccess code did. I don’t think I need to say anything more than that.

Emergency Account Migration

During this period I also got a notification they had migrated my site to another server, again.


This time they had identified that the site was using over 50% of the servers resources.

Which is funny because that is precisely what would be causing the 502/504 bad gateway errors I had reported to them 8 months earlier.

And just like the last time they migrated the site to a new server, they failed to check if everything was working properly which it wasn’t.

If All Else Fails, Ignore The Customer

Giving their top tech guys credit where credit is due, they came back with a list of possible reasons the site was performing so badly.


Well not really, they just installed a free plugin which gives you a basic overview of things.

The same guy that didn’t understand the basics of .htaccess was also trying to blame a plugin called MShots but he couldn’t locate it on my blog.

The reason he couldn’t locate it is because it’s part of WordPress core functionality straight out of the box.

You would expect a WordPress expert to know what is a plugin and what is a core WordPress function.

Anyway we continued to do the dance, but dancing gets very tiring after doing it non-stop for 8 months.


That was the last I heard from support about the speed issues. They didn’t even bother to reply to the ticket after that.

After 6 days had passed and the site continued to be slow and/or unavailable I was getting flocks of complaints from readers. Enough was enough.

I sent this email to the co-founder & the rest of the top brass at WP Engine


Guess what happened next?

Absolutely nothing. Support never replied and neither did the co-founder who had promised to my face that he would resolve all of the issues and give me 6 months free hosting as compensation.


So after 8 months of the same issues, pathetic excuses from support, flying half way around the world and speaking to the co-founder directly the ‘WordPress Experts’ couldn’t be arsed to reply.

That tells you everything you need to know about the company, the co-founder & how they treat their customers.

Do you trust your business with someone that handles themselves like that?

Using Customers Sites To Build A Link Network

I noticed a few days later that there was a keyword stuffed link to the WP Engine homepage in my blogs footer.

That was strange because I hadn’t put it there and it wasn’t visible in the footer.php file of my theme.

So how on earth was a link to the WP Engine homepage appearing on my blog?

If you take a look in the very bottom left corner of the screenshot below you can see it for yourself, they did a very good job at hiding it!


How sneaky is that? They were dynamically inserting a keyword stuffed link to their homepage at the server level. I couldn’t manually remove it!


Ben responded pretty quickly and promised to follow up with a call-


I told Ben not to worry and to just give me a call on Monday.

But in true WP Engine style that call never came, even when I followed up via email – that was ignored as well.


What makes this even worse is the fact that genuine businesses that have had their websites penalised or deindexed from Google completely for less than that.

But WP Engine still rank for the target term!

Deleted 60% Of My RSS Subscribers

It has taken me over 20 months of hard work to build up my RSS subscribers. It took WP Engine minutes to wipe out 60% of that effort.

That is 12 months hard work building my RSS subscriber base completely wiped out without a blink of an eye from WP Engine.

Around the start of April a reader emailed me to let me know my RSS feed wasn’t working. When I took a look at the source code of the feed I noticed this message-

“The used table type doesn’t support FULLTEXT indexes”

At that time I was actually sat with one of the head developers from the BBC. He took a look at it and told me exactly what was wrong.

Basically WP Engine had changed their MYSQL configuration to disable full text indexing – which my RSS feed relied on to function properly.

They had made this configuration change to the server without any kind of customer notification.


So with that knowledge in mind and confirming that was the issue with a few Google searches I opened a support ticket.

All they needed to do to fix the issue was enable full text indexing on the MYSQL database again. Its a 60 second job for anyone that knows what they are doing.

I told them what the exact issue was and what needed to change for it to be fixed, instead of just fixing it they continued with their usual line of excuses and palming the issue off.

Here is a list of excuses they came up with for that-

  • A link to an irrelevant issue on WordPress forums
  • I had uploaded files that were not part of WordPress (eg the PDF files behind the social lockers)
  • Blackhat SEO applications & videos – a zip file containing a copy of my windows based software & a folder with MP4 video files
  • The developer of a plugin – the plugin was working fine until THEY changed THEIR config
  • Uploading any file to your account means they cannot provide any level of support

The level of stupidity displayed here is beyond what I’m able to put into words. None of those excuses had ANYTHING to do with MYSQL.

They might as well have said your RSS feed is broken because you brushed your teeth this morning.


What they should of said is sorry we changed our server configuration without telling you which broke your RSS feed & wiped out 12 months of your hard work. However we have now re-enabled that for your account.

Here is the full support ticket with them about that issue – which in true WP Engine fashion they just ignored and stopped replying to. At least they are consistent in one thing!


The funny thing is when I eventually moved to my new host and told them about the problem, they fixed it in less than 2 minutes.

Take a guess at what they did to fix it? They enabled fulltext MYSQL indexing on the table. If you don’t know anything about server configs I can’t stress how basic that is.

I wouldn’t like to put a $$$ value on what that specific issue cost me with WP Engine.

It took 20 months to build it to that level and WP Engine wiped out 12 months of that effort without a blink of the eye, which is the WPEngine way apparently!

Testing The Co-Founder’s Promise

When I spoke to the WP Engine co-founder at Affiliate Summit he told me they would give me 6 months free hosting as compensation for the problems I have had.

That never actually happened so 4 months after he made that promise I opened a ticket to see what was going on.


Yet again, that ticket went unanswered and was actually marked as solved the next day.

Turns out the co-founders promises are worth nothing. That is the kind of person you are trusting your business with when using WP Engines hosting services.

Terminating My Account

At the same time I had the ticket open about the RSS feed issue and asking about the co-founder’s promise of 6 months hosting – WP Engine decided to terminate my account.

Instead of taking 2 minutes to fix the problem they created when they changed their server configuration without notification and keeping their promise they decided to just cancel my contract with them.

They didn’t even provide a reason for that. When I asked for the reason they said to see the first communication which didn’t provide a reason. Such is the WP Engine support merry go round.


They did this on the 18th of April with 7 days notice. Except in the UK the 18th-21st was a public bank holiday. They terminated my account with just 3 working days notice.

That was also during a period I was packing and planning to move country. Suddenly I had to drop everything, find a reliable new host and move the entire site.

The knock on effect of that was the time I had planned to spend seeing friends & family for the last time, was spent running around cleaning up their mess.

When You Think It Is All Over

You would think that once WP Engine terminates your account and your website is no longer hosted by them, that would be the end of the problems.

But they weren’t finished with the clown act just yet!

They terminated my account as promised on the 24th of April 2014. Then on the 25th April they took money from my credit card for the next month of service.

The service they had just terminated. So even though I was no longer a customer with them, they continued to take money directly from my bank account.

wp engine billing

Not only that but they actually hijacked the money for 10 days! Given all of the costs of moving to a new host I could have done with that money in my account.


But we have established the WP Engine doesn’t care about their customers or your business so that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

What Do Other People Say About WP Engine?

When I was at Affiliate Summit I spoke to a bunch of people about my problems with WP Engine and I was surprised to hear what other people had to say about WP Engine. It wasn’t great!

I also knew that my friend from MyTanFeet was having similar problems with them.

I felt bad because he moved his hosting to WP Engine based on my recommendation.

If you moved your hosting to WP Engine based on my previous advice I can’t stress how truly sorry I am for that!

Here is just some of the feedback I got from my readers about WP Engine when I mentioned the problems in last month’s income report





As you can see the verdict is pretty much unanimous.

Learn how to start a blog that people notice in 7 days

Which Hosting Company Can You Trust?

When WP Engine terminated my hosting I was in a desperate situation.

I reached out to some people for advice as I didn’t know which hosting company I could trust and Terry Kyle quite literally saved the day.

Terry Kyle runs the Traffic Planet forums and knows his stuff when it comes to SEO & internet marketing.

He also runs Traffic Planet Hosting which competes directly with WP Engine & his support team took care of everything for me.

 Not only did they move the site, they fixed all of the problems that WP Engine couldn’t.
Remember the RSS issue that had the WPEngine team stumped even though I told them exactly how to fix it?

That took them 2 minutes to sort out. They also took care of optimising the blogs load times & setup the CDN for me. It was a truly painless experience during a moment of panic & desperation mid-moving country.

I cannot thank them enough for that! That level of service & support reminds me of the early days of WP-Engine.

Traffic Planet Hosting vs WP Engine

So on top of the great service & support that Traffic Planet Hosting has offered so far, what else do they do offer that WP Engine don’t?

trafficplanet vs wp engine

Not only are they cheaper, they offer a huge range of features that WP Engine don’t.

One of the main ones is email support. If you host your site with WP Engine you need to buy additional hosting just for your email! That is not the case with Traffic Planet Hosting.

The Site Speed Challenge

However price & features aren’t everything – one of my main concerns is site speed, after all website speed optimization is money in the bank!

slow website

So who is actually faster – WP Engine or Traffic Planet Hosting? There is only one way to find out!

I ran a series of speed tests before the site was moved from WP Engine & then repeated the same tests after it was moved to Traffic Planet Hosting.

I tested the home page, my top 100 blog tutorial and loading WP-Admin. I chose these pages because they were either the most visited, the most resource intensive or a combination of both.

I also tested each of these pages from the USA & from Amsterdam to make sure the site loaded quickly on both sides of the pond.

I used Pingdom (P) and WebPageTest (W) to test each of the 3 pages from both locations to be 100% confident in the results.

WP Engine Site Speed Results

PageUSA (P)Amsterdam (P)USA (W)Amsterdam (W)

Traffic Planet Hosting Site Speed Results

PageUSA (P)Amsterdam (P)USA (W)Amsterdam (W)

Who Is Faster? Site Speed Summary

Using the WP Engine results as a benchmark, the table below shows if Traffic Planet Hosting was faster or slower.

So if you see -20% that means Traffic Planet Hosting was 20% faster. If you see +20% that means WP Engine was 20% faster.

PageUSA (P)Amsterdam (P)USA (W)Amsterdam (W)

As you can see, it is quite clear that Traffic Planet Hosting is considerably faster than WP Engine.

On average Traffic Planet Hosting is 18.77% faster than WP Engine.

Not only that but Traffic Planet Hosting only costs me $49.99 a month compared to WP Engine’s $212.00 in March.

WP Engine has a strange pricing system that changes based on how many visitors you have. I was on their $99 a month plan that allows 100,000 visits per month.

After that you pay $1 per 1,000 visitors so I had to pay an extra $113 in March.

And when they say 100,000 visitors they don’t actually mean 100,000 visitors. What they actually mean is 100,000 page requests, which is open to abuse.

For example I could buy 20,000 visitors from Fiverr for $5 and send them to your website. That would cost you $20 but it only cost me $5. Or I could just load up Scrapebox & have full control over your bill.

Either way Traffic Planet Hosting is 18% faster & 76% cheaper than WPEngine.

Oh and the support team actually knows what they are doing which helps.

Traffic Planet Hosting Update 31/05/2014

On the 30th of May the Traffic Planet Hosting data centre had a power failure which resulted in corrupted databases.

This led to a total of 8 hours and 14 minutes of downtime in total which is less than ideal.

Power failures do happen which can cause all sorts of problems, but I’m going to be keeping a close eye on the situation.

Wrapping Up My WPEngine Review

It is a shame to see the demise of WP Engine in this manner. Like I said at the start of the article they were one of the best hosting companies I had ever worked with by quite a stretch.

In my corporate career I have dealt with a range of hosting companies from the likes of RackSpace to HostGator – none of them could stand up to the service & support WP Engine used to offer.

In my opinion when WP Engine first started it was a business founded out of passion & innovation. That was clear from the level of support and knowledge displayed when I first moved over.

However I think they grew too quickly over the past couple of years which has caused them major problems.

Now instead of dealing with actual WordPress experts, you’re dealing with customer service staff that have had minor WordPress training & fail to understand the basics.

Last year Heather Brunner became COO which probably led to changes in how the company operates. Is it a coincidence the service & support started to degrade shortly after?

Then you have to consider the $15 million investment by venture capitalist firm North Bridge which pushes the focus towards money & profits rather than passion & innovation.

Investors don’t care about your business or your website, they only care about 1 thing – profit. It is also worth noting the passionate co-founder left the company shortly after that investment.

It feels like they have undergone serious cost cutting exercises to the demise of the service & support. I’ve worked in a number of companies where this has happened and it has never turned out well.

WP Engine need to remind themselves of their own values and if they had just followed their own customer support strategy I wouldn’t be writing this post.

There is a certain irony in that!

My advice is if you are a WP Engine customer – move your business away from them as quickly as possible.

My experience with Traffic Planet Hosting has been awesome so far – hopefully they don’t follow WP Engines lead.

WPEngine Responds

The WPEngine team have published a couple of responses on their blog this week.

The first one was very disappointing and just the usual marketing/PR propaganda with no actual substance or ownership behind it.

Anyone with any experience in marketing & PR will see straight through that.

The second one had a bit more substance to it but still failed to address the majority of issues highlighted.

For example they continue to dodge questions about-

  • Resource allocation
  • Why so many customers suffer from the same problems (see comments)
  • Why so many customers reported these issues to them & were repeatedly ignored (see comments)
  • Why the support team no longer contains WordPress experts like they advertise on the front end – in their first response they admit support staff rely on a knowledge base. Eg they have hired people that know nothing about WordPress
  • Why they have a careless attitude towards the damage done to customers businesses, not even an apology
  • Why they change server configs without notifying customers that break peoples sites/businesses
  • Why website speed/load times/mysql issues have got worse over time
  • Why they feel its ok to delete live customer data without permission or backup
  • Why they flat out ignore customers at support & senior levels if they can’t resolve a problem
  • Why they failed to keep their co-founders promises
  • Why they deploy links on customers sites without permission
  • Why they terminated my account
  • Why they continue to take customers money after ending service with them

So all in all, the responses don’t really address any of the issues highlighted. Unless you accept ‘growth’ as a universal answer to all of that.

It would be nice to see them take some level of ownership & responsibility for the damage they have done to their customers businesses – I doubt that is going to happen.

I also asked them to refund all of the money I had paid to them & everyone that I had referred to them as an affiliate – they ignored that as well.

What Else Don’t They Tell You

There is something else that they do to your website without your permission or telling you.

When you move your site over to WPEngine they make serious WPEngine specific changes to core WordPress files.

They don’t tell you what they have changed or which files they have made those changes in.

But what this means is when you try to move your site away from WPEngine, you are going to have a hard time getting it to work properly on another host.

I’m currently investigating this further but I will update in due course with my findings.

Are WPEngine Just A Glorified Reseller?

Added on 28th May 2014

One of the comments from Joseph pointed out that WPEngine are listed as a client of Linode who are a cloud hosting company.

It appears that WPEngine are just renting out cloud servers from Linode and then reselling them as premium hosting.

wpengine resellers

If you take a look at the price plans you can get an awful lot more bang for your buck than you can with WPEngine.

Not only that but you can have your own dedicated environment that won’t be overloaded with other clients paying a premium price.

After reading about the WPEngine infrastructure you would expect they actually have their own infrastructure.

But it seems that they are nothing but glorified shared hosting resellers with flashy branding and premium pricing rather than the hosting experts they claim to be.

If you want to help, please share this article on your blog

My Old WPEngine Review

I have taken down the original WPEngine review that I published because it was no longer relevant after publishing this.

However, if you want to check out my original review before all of the problems, just click the link below.

672 Responses

  1. Kris

    I hope you won’t get sued for the most honest review ever written ^^

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 9:22 am

      Now that would make for an awesome blog post!

      • Kris
        May 21st, 2014 at 9:50 am

        Ha ha :) Let sleeping dogs lie. But you’re right :D Post about it will hit a lot of first pages :)

        • Matthew Woodward
          May 21st, 2014 at 9:55 am

          We’ll see what happens. I wouldn’t be so nice about things if they went legal.

          • Kris
            May 21st, 2014 at 10:02 am

            The only thing could be about publishing emails. You gave them enough time to fix problems.

          • Matthew Woodward
            May 21st, 2014 at 8:52 pm

            I sure did!

    • Michelle
      November 23rd, 2015 at 3:56 pm

      WPEngine staff have been caught deleting content from blogs who write about WordPress,

      They do is in support or thier keyword competitors from the U.S.

      They only delete posts from sites owned by non Americans because they know they can get away with it.

    • WPCreep
      April 18th, 2017 at 9:57 am

      @Matthew If they’re smart, they’ll offer you some money deal + paid vacation to remove this post… wonder how many potential leads they lost so far haha!

  2. Shahid

    A few days back I also got some issues with my reseller hosting.Even company deleted my clients site back up without telling me.After a much hard work I got it back.Bad hosting is just like fu*k you and your sites SEO.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 9:21 am

      Thats why you should always take your own backups :)

      • Serge
        May 27th, 2014 at 12:05 am

        And another reason to skip shared hosting and go with your own solution.

        Don’t get me wrong, I have a few shared hosting accounts, but my main money making websites are on a dedicated server that I’m co-locating at a facility. Server cost me $2k and hosting is $150/month and it OWNS the crap out of hosts like wpengine

        • Matthew Woodward
          May 27th, 2014 at 7:11 pm

          But there are associated time & management costs with that

        • Joseph
          May 27th, 2014 at 10:25 pm

          Yea – until your raid controller dies.. its your responsibility to fix your hardware. You need extra hard drives, servers laying around. Then, how long will it take you to get back up? Screw collocating. I’ve done that.. not worth it when disaster strikes.

          • Matthew Woodward
            May 28th, 2014 at 3:37 pm

            Have to agree, my time is better spent else where

  3. Quinton


    lol. I actually read the bulk of it. It looks like you gave them a fair shot at making it right.

    I almost signed up for them, but I would have hit their traffic limits pretty quickly.

    Been waiting for a good write up on Traffic-Planet’s service. Thanks for doing that! Still have a couple of bum sites sitting on Hostgator. Need to move them over to Traffic Planet, me thinks.

    It’s been a sucky month for hosting, hasn’t it? Truvahalla had problems, you had problems, I had problems…

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 9:20 am

      I got 99 problems but WP Engine ain’t one!

  4. Salman Aslam

    Matthew we are facing similar issues with WP Engine. They way their system has been set up it is really not transparent at all and we’ve seen how they dodge that particular question every time.

    I am also amazed by the amount of time you’ve had to spend on the hosting issue, feeling bad for you :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 9:20 am

      Yeah they really don’t like that question, which speaks for itself!

  5. Nathan

    I have had issues like this with a few different companies.

    I have a blog which has anywhere between 10 and 100 concurrent users at one time so the need for a good host is crucial.

    I tried all the big names in “reliable” hosting and found issues with most.

    I now have a small cluster of servers (VPS) with digital ocean which i set up with load balancers based on geographic location of the user etc.

    My bill is about £5 more but the speed test are out of the world compared to all the shared hosting.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 9:18 am

      Wow sounds like you know your stuff – would love to see a tutorial/guest post on that!

    • Kris
      May 21st, 2014 at 9:56 am

      DigitalOcean is also my choice :) $5 is a steal for the possibilities, but requires some knowledge.

    • Andreas Nurbo
      May 22nd, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      Do allmost the same for my sites. No geo thing yet though since all visits are from europe anyway.
      Made an ansible scripts that configures everything for me. Just adding new ips for the servers. run link and I got a new setup (dedicated web server, mysql server, redis, but can be all on single droplet as well) overkill but fast as heck. They now have private network support so can connect to the mysql server using the local network. Adding new sites to a setup is just adding another site config and run deploy script it setups a staging and production site for each domain. Uses Bedrock for the site setups. Aint using capistrano since I do it using Ansible.
      When time allows Ive been thinking of integrating the scripts with the DO API so it setups up everything. Ansible has support for the DO API.

      When I first came to DO they managed to corrupt a node in their datacenter and corrupting the VPS (lost files and all file perms were changed and what not on the server, no clue how they managed that). Server was down for hours so I just created a new droplet, added its IP to the ansible script and ran it and everything was working fine again. But was annoyed with the node corruption.

      • Ankit
        December 30th, 2015 at 10:58 pm


        I would love to know about the script and other things from you. Very much interested.

  6. Skyebug77

    Hey Matt. I like the article. Read it all. The start of it, their support seemed reasonable, as I have my own hosting company too as well as manage multiple sites for people. A lot of their initial response (i.e. starting with plugins) is a correct place to begin troubleshooting. Out dated plugins can eefect a sites performance, including speed. Coding advances over time and thier are instances where old coding becomes defunct and no longer supported by wp cms. I recently had an issue with one of my sites like that.

    As I read more it is apparent their support was certainly lost as more information was supplied. Their server was apparently overloaded and even proxying over your site through the old ip is standard until a users DNS records are updated they should have at least notified you to do so immediately to the new dns settings and then removed the proxy. It also sounds like they were having an issue with their own dns glue. This will affect all the sites on a hosts server since relays get confused and can also cause those gateway errors you are seeing.

    Anyways, sorry to hear about all of your problems, and glad to hear you are getting things back on track.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 9:17 am

      While I agree coding advances over time and plugins can get better in new versions, you have to consider the site was lighning fast with the same versions of plugins that now had an update available. So the plugin versions never changed, but the site speed did.

      But if it was fast with the current version before, that is entirely irrelevant.

      Feel free to share/link the post from your blog ^^

  7. Enzo Reyn

    Hey Matt – great post. Considering what WP Engine charges, this is really an amazingly poor way to treat a customer, especially one who could have helped them grow through referrals.

    And, unfortunately, WP engine isn’t the only hosting company that is not treating it’s customers as it should.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 9:15 am

      Yeah I worked with them on a competition, sent a bunch of business their way and well, I feel sorry for the average joe customer.

      Who else are you having problems with? Perhaps they need testing ^^

  8. Sgt. Kraut

    Funny that in some of the conversations it seems that YOU are the tech guy – and not the person who actually is :-D

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 9:14 am

      Hahaha yeah, well I am a tech guy they just treated me like a dumb idiot but at the same I play dumb with most situations in life. It’s an easy way to see who talks the talk and who walks the walk. WP Engine fell hook, line & sinker.

  9. Sillas Larsen

    I would make this blog post rank for “WP engine” if I was you… ;-)

  10. Lee Hughes


    I also use WP Engine but never had the problems that you had thankfully, although I did have the spam issue which I was advised to install a CAPTCHA plugin also.

    This is one epic post! I do plan to leave WP Engine when my full year is up in a few months.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 9:12 am

      Man get rid of the captcha plugin, all that does is inconvenience real users. Thats like a 2005 solution to stop spam (which doesn’t actually stop spam, I have software that solves that for me while I’m asleep) try a honeypot type solution instead.

  11. Emergency Pizza Party

    The only thing that surprises me is you thought a shared hosting company’s level 1 tech support was going to help you diagnose a site speed problem. You sound like a man who needs his own server.

    That said, I have worked with those dudes and they have a pretty funny attitude – the beauty of wordpress is the ability to use it like a swiss army knife, and they have turned it into Blogspot. it’s only a matter of time before their conceptually ‘bulletproof’ wordpress platform fell apart. their mistake was thinking they could actually lock down WordPress and turn it into a foolproof platform for corporate blogs. basically by turning off features until the features are all gone.

    they treated you pretty shabby though.

    i dunno, do the comments add that much to your blog?

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 9:12 am

      I suppose I fell for their sales messaging on the frontend – well actually the first few months with them was awesome, you did deal with actual WordPress experts. Now its like talking to my grandma =\

  12. hydride

    What’s worst than being reviewed? Being reviewed by Matthew Woordward! LOL. I suspect they’ll continue to be in contact with you if they care about customer service.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 9:10 am

      Well if something is awesome, I will share that. If it sucks, I will share that. If you repeatedly test my patience, I will share that.

  13. Maxx Heth

    Thanks for sharing, Matthew! You brought up a lot of things to take note of in the event any web hosting company decides to give its customers the shaft and play the blame game. Glad to hear it worked out for you and also really enjoyed the webinar you did with Tim Paige! Cheers!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 9:09 am

      The ironic thing is in this post they wrote- http://wpengine.com/2013/06/28/customer-support-strategy-turning-every-customer-experience-into-a-positive-one/

      Treat every interaction as if the whole world was watching

      Because the whole world could be watching. It’s so simple for a customer to take a screenshot of their support ticket and share it with all their friends on Twitter and Facebook. In fact, it’s so simple that it happens all the time. This is a potential liability that is an easy reminder to be classy, respectful, honest, and patient with every single customer interaction. Always remember that if someone chooses to, they can share their customer experience with the whole world.

  14. Pete

    Getting a good hosting company is always a lottery – you never know exactly infrastructure they are running , or what hardware they havent patched.

    I had a customer using a host company – whose lost every piece of data they had – and here is a warning to all – the hosting company in question had a massive raid5 array – hot swappable disks etc. They used the same batch of disks from the same manufacturer – I think 3 disks failed within minutes of each other – so the failover / hot swap could not happen – and they lost all their customers data.

    Took them over a week to get the hardware back in one piece – they then over wrote data – so anyone using ecommerce systems were screwed over again.

    Cheapy hosting companies will over load their servers to get more bang for there buck. Then when it goes tits up they are clueless because the failover system doesnt not work

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 9:07 am

      Yeah thats true – I always take an independent backup because you never know what can happen! Even a premium host can have failures like that/the data center could catch fire or flood etc etc etc

    • Ansel Taft
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      “Getting a good hosting company is always a lottery…”

      Amen. You never know until you’re a part of their network.

  15. Eric Gati

    That’s a pretty wild story, Matt, and it’s a shame you had to put up with such terrible service for so long. Glad to hear you’re in a better place now.

    Hopefully this post gets lot of shares (I suspect it will), so that others don’t make the same mistake. You did such a great job documenting everything, that I have to believe this post will (rightfully) have an impact on their business.

    Thanks for taking the time to share this in such depth – you may have gotten screwed here, but you’ve done a great service for everyone else who reads this.


    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 9:06 am

      Thanks Eric – feel free to share it on your blog, a few backlinks to the post should do the trick (but im not allowed to create them here as per my own rules bah)

      I knew it would impact them so I gave them a warning a month ago and let them see the post 1-2 days before it was published.

      Hope it helps!

  16. Rick

    Good to know, looks like i can get better hosting from a 2.00 a month account!
    You Rock and saved me $$ i was thinking of them for a future host!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 9:04 am

      Glad I could help!

  17. Danny Jones

    Wow Matt,

    Been digesting your woes and I must say, whilst I too have been drawn in by their hype, iv always had the thought that my bluehostt pro account has always been rock solid, so would they really offer me much benefit?

    It seems like a resounding no.

    Thanks for your incredibly in depth post, I will be keeping an eye here to see if WPengine comment on there shoddy service you had

    Thanks, Danny

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 9:04 am

      I’ve been in good contact with them the past few weeks and sent them an email to let them know what was going to happen next.

      Even sent the post over to them a day or two before I published it so they could brace themselves for impact.

      No response to the actual post yet but I’m sure there will be!

      • Ansel Taft
        May 21st, 2014 at 8:12 pm

        That’s more considerate than how the vast majority of folks review a host.

        • Matthew Woodward
          May 21st, 2014 at 8:38 pm

          Well I figured it’s best to keep it friendly in situations like this!

  18. Jennifer Bland


    I was one person that noticed your RSS feed was down and reported it to you in April. I read many blogs vis RSS in Outlook and I started getting error messages from your website. I had no idea that you were having such challenging problems behind the scenes.

    Great report about wpengine. Before moving my website from hostgator to knownhost, I had actually considered using wpengine because they claimed to be faster of the hosting companies. Glad I didn’t make that mistake. I have spent time tweeking my website to get it to the point where it loads in just over 1 second.


    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 9:02 am

      Hi Jennifer,

      Yes you were the first one to do so :)

      Yeah your site is rapid fast my end! Good job on that!

  19. Lee

    Great Case Study, added them to my shit list.

    Wonder how long before Ben Metcalf comes grovelling here.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 3:39 am

      He isn’t involved with WPEngine anymore. I would hazard a guess they got the huge investment and he took a phat payout and left

  20. Zen

    Hi Matt

    Great post, i love to see this type of company behaviour get its comeuppance, i complained about a host on WHT and the forum removed my complaint! so these companies think they can do what they want with no recourse.

    As for Terry and his hosting, i cant begin to tell you or anyone reading that Terry absolutely goes out of his way for people that use his services, i cant recommend his services enough. I use Terrys hosting and its faster than a fast thing going fast : ) but as you say the service is awesome!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 3:39 am

      Yeah Terry his an awesome guy I have had the pleasure of meeting him :)

  21. Claudio Barros Jr

    Hi Matthew,

    It’s funny that I was experience that same problems with wpengine for some time now.

    Thank you for writing this post. I’m now moving to the recommended webhost you’ve provided.


    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 3:37 am

      No worrys :)

  22. Saul

    wow, that was a long boring shit post. you make money so get a dedicated server and a decent server admin. these things are for nubs.

    end of story.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 3:37 am

      I don’t have the time or energy to maintain something like that

  23. Ryan

    Business is about three things as Marcus Lemonis puts it, these are people, product and process. It seems WP Engine has lost some key people recently who were customer focused, their product became or has been crap and the process in place to resolve problems is a complete fail. I will never use them, what really has me is that their CEO is a liar so this really shows me what kind of company they are. Thank you for this.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 3:37 am

      Nice outlook on things thanks!

  24. Steve Moran

    Wow what a post, sounds very frustrating Mathew. I bit the bullet a while ago and got my own server after years of issues with other hosts. Best thing I could have done and worth the extra expense. I am by no means a server expert and use seeksadmin for server support ($25-00/month) who have been absolute lifesavers in fixing, tweaking,securing & setting up things to get wordpress humming for me.
    @devin ditto on wordfence – works great.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 3:36 am

      Oooo that sounds like a great service might check it out!

  25. Michael Bely


    Your experience with web hosting is really not easy.

    I’ve seen a lot of stories when a formerly great hosting turns into a nightmare.

    Even such good hosting in the past providers for masses (i.e. not expensive) like BlueHost and HostGator are far not that great as they used to be when they were not that popular (or until they were acquired by EIG).

    I wish you found the one hosting for a long time now.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 3:36 am

      Well the only way to truly do that is have your own dedicated server but that takes time to manage and maintain

      • Ansel Taft
        May 21st, 2014 at 8:18 pm

        You can ‘cheat’. Get a lifetime license to DirectAdmin, load it on CentOS 6, use their control panel to run some updates, and SSH in to run ‘yum update’. I do it for myself and have a bare metal cloud VPS account through Linode’s new state of the art infrastructure. It’s blazing fast for $20/mo (starting, can expand as needed).

        For a site like yours though, you’ll need to install Varnish to keep it nice and speedy. I just installed it last week and it was way easier than I would have suspected.

        • Matthew Woodward
          May 21st, 2014 at 8:37 pm

          It’s not that I don’t know how – I could build the entire thing from command line, I literally don’t have the time to deal with that =/

    • gcampton
      May 21st, 2014 at 10:56 am

      Yeah my first VPS was with hostgator, major major mistake. Their support are useless tools as well. Blame everything on plugins and such. 1 issue I even new the problem and how to fix it yet quizzed the support anyway.

      They were so far off the mark I changed host after a lengthy abuse.

      You’re too nice Matt I would have abuse the shit out of those morons.

      • Matthew Woodward
        May 21st, 2014 at 8:50 pm

        I have heard good things about hostgator but I suppose they suffer from the same wp engine growth problems.

  26. Darryl Smith

    What a torrid time you had. I was losing my will to live just reading your story.
    This shows all of us what good customer care and giving a quick answer can mean to customers of ours. Once lost, that customer is gone forever.
    Also, if you purport to be an expert, then you had better be one. No room to fake it till you make it here.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 3:35 am

      I think they will lose more than 1 customer!

  27. Hammad Rafique

    Another question matt.. which cdn you are using? have you shared any review about it? and also any configuration guide for it?

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 3:34 am

      Its part of the Traffic Planet Hosting system, I think it runs off Amazon S3

      • Hammad Rafique
        May 21st, 2014 at 8:53 am

        Oh great! but i think this hosting provider is new,, should i trust them? is it reliable? any reviews?

        • Matthew Woodward
          May 21st, 2014 at 9:29 am

          Yeah they aren’t that new but all I can say so far is the support staff are technical, quick to respond and not only that proactive in what they do. For example they sent me an email today to tell me the contact form was getting spammed and they had noticed my TTFB fluctuated at some points so had changed teh config of the server.

          Certainly haven’t found anything wrong with them yet and they made WP Engine look like amateurs.

          • Terry Kyle
            May 21st, 2014 at 1:05 pm

            Your CDN is Amazon Cloudfront Matt and thanks for the detailed epic-length post.

          • Matthew Woodward
            May 21st, 2014 at 8:42 pm

            No worrys :) Thank you for saving the day!

          • Hammad Rafique
            May 21st, 2014 at 2:04 pm

            “All that glitters is not gold” for WP engine ;) and i’ll contact you when i’ll be moving to a new server, when i’ll get huge traffic.

          • Matthew Woodward
            May 21st, 2014 at 8:41 pm

            Haha but hopefully the cloud has a silver lining for them!

  28. Jamie Darville

    I’m surprised that someone at your level even trusts shared hosting.

    No offense but why not do it yourself and have some dedicated servers

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 3:34 am

      I don’t have the time to manage it all

      • gcampton
        May 21st, 2014 at 11:02 am

        I don’t understand your response. You can simply hire techs, who actually know what they are doing to “manage it all”, (managing it all involves setting a few options – couple hours work after that runs on autopilot AFAIK)

        You can buy dedicated servers that run just like shared hosts, the only difference is you can access WHM and reboot server with 1 click of a button.

        • Matthew Woodward
          May 21st, 2014 at 8:49 pm

          All of which takes time to manage. When you have a few businesses to run, have moved country, setup new businesses there & everything else I do having a spare 5 minutes is a luxury!

  29. Emmett Moore

    All I can say is WOW. That link on your site was so F*ing sneaky and really tells you all you need to know about these scammers. Its good you wrote this post, with a well documented chain of events that can completely exposes this company. They used to have a sterling reputation, and that was the only reason why I decided to pay the premium. Not anymore. Internet marketers need to collectively boycott these types of bad actors, else we are individually exploited.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 20th, 2014 at 10:35 pm

      Yeah that really took the biscuit!

  30. Lewis

    Matt – I too had issues with WPEngine last year whom I joined based on your reccomendation. Support, Cost and Support were the biggest problems.

    I did switch to TPH when they were just weeks old, however after a few server issues I was forced to move on yet again.

    I do believe Terry is building something great over there and will be rejoining once my current (annual) deal expires.

    You certainly know how to stick it to those who do you wrong!

    – Lewis

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 3:33 am

      What sort of problems did you have with TPH?

      • Lewis
        May 21st, 2014 at 3:54 am

        Similar to WPEngine really, vry fast growth and server overload. All websites down (including my blog) for hours per day over a 1-2 week period and the support just couldn’t help in time due to the demand.

        To be fair Terry made an offer of free hosting for a couple months but thats not what it was about for me, I needed stability and they couldn’t offer it at the time.

        I believe they have since upgraded the server etc so fingers crossed for them…and you!

        • Matthew Woodward
          May 21st, 2014 at 8:56 am

          Ahhh I’m sorry to hear that, hopefully they got over the teething problems. I’ve been with them for a month and a bit now and it’s been golden so far!

        • Terry Kyle
          May 21st, 2014 at 1:21 pm

          Thanks Lewis, much appreciated.

          I know hosting users often don’t need/want to know the technical issue affecting their uptime (I didn’t when I was a normal hosting user) but we tracked the problem back to an LSI raid controller firmware bug that was disruptive, to say the least, and difficult to locate back then.

          As a result, our systems are configured quite differently now and we have long since added automated daily incremental backups and full weekly backups for all users – both to Amazon S3.

          We look forward to seeing you back at TPH in the future.

  31. Miroslav

    Hi Matthew,

    I am one of those who signed up for WP engine by your recommendation.

    The sites are still hosted with them, but I did experience some problems you mentioned. I have had my share of 502 database errors. This issue was resolved once my server died, so they had to move the data to another server.

    Then I experienced the same problem with Limit Login. They knew what the problem was and gave me a query to run on the database. After that I manually changed .htaccess file so that wp_admin could only be accessed with another set of login credentials.

    I requested a compensation for significant down time and they gave me free hosting for several months. Also, the speed is still as good as it was when I signed up, so that’s that.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 20th, 2014 at 10:35 pm

      Sorry you had to go through all of that :(

      • Miroslav
        May 20th, 2014 at 11:22 pm

        No worries mate, I am not blaming you. Just sharing my experience :) I am happy with them at this moment. Thanks for the recommendation regarding Terry’s hosting.

        • Matthew Woodward
          May 21st, 2014 at 3:19 am

          Well it was my recommendation so some of the blame does lie with me :)

  32. Philip Zeplin

    Hah, funny to see my comment in there.

    But yeah, I really need to get around to moving my site. Mainly the issue of not being able to update anything (plugins, versions, anything really) is becoming a very tedious problem.

    Terry’s hosting certainly looks like it could fit the bill.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 20th, 2014 at 10:28 pm

      What you can’t even just click to update things??

    • Jen
      May 21st, 2014 at 1:18 am

      I’m having the same issue with my client… I can’t update the plug-ins from the dashboard. I have to do it though FTP.

      Which also means I have to manually check them, my dashboard isn’t telling me when there are updates. Pain in the butt!

      • Matthew Woodward
        May 21st, 2014 at 2:15 am

        Is that WPEngine as well?

      • gcampton
        May 21st, 2014 at 11:13 am

        I’ve had this issue before, but it was right after install. I deleted everything and started again and it worked fine.

        A similar issue I had was a plugin “TrulyFreeSEOpics” that died and took me forever to find the cause of not being able to update.

        and Another issue was after changing servers I couldn’t upload any images via the media uploader, I had to do it manually. The cause of that was the URL in Settings->Media —> folder of files to upload: “/server/public/www/wp-content/uploads” the issue was the slash at the front of the url, it needed to be “server/public/www….” etc.

        Doubt that will help, but you never know. It might help you rack your brain what it could be.

        • Matthew Woodward
          May 21st, 2014 at 8:48 pm

          Nice tips!

  33. Ren

    Wow. First, this was an amazingly detailed post. Great job at pointing all this out. Second, I’m so glad I did not go with WP Engine. I wound up giving Media Temple’s Managed WP Hosting a shot and haven’t had many problems. It’s such a shame someone should have to deal with that despite paying multiples of what a normal shared hosting plan would cost, especially since when the shared hosting plan includes better support. One thing will say about Media Temple is that the support has not been as great as my shared hosting support with Host Gator but hopefully I can say different my next time around with them.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 20th, 2014 at 10:27 pm

      How have you found site speed with them?

      • Ren
        May 22nd, 2014 at 9:48 pm

        No problems with speed. I’ve been happy in that area. I know the service is still new so hopefully they will work out any kinks in the system.

        • anon
          May 24th, 2014 at 9:25 pm

          Media temple is horrible, period.

          You marketing guys need to learn the difference between a real host and a host that is just a marketing company.

          Media Temple, WpEngine, etc, etc, are the designer jeans of hosting.

          • Matthew Woodward
            May 25th, 2014 at 6:38 pm

            Haha thats a nice way of putting it!

          • Ren
            May 29th, 2014 at 9:59 pm

            And I’m learning this with more experience. My support experiences with Media Temple continue to be a huge disappointment. I recently had a problem with my site being down due to syntax error and, for whatever reason, the network I was working on could not connect to my site via SFTP and I was stuck with a broke site and no way to connect. I got in touch with the support people to see if they could just wipe the file empty to I could replace the code and get the site back up. To my amazement, they refused! Here I am with a “WordPress hosting plan” and the support team was refusing to get my site back up and running at a time when I was unable to. The fix ultimately took my about 20 seconds to complete and wasn’t a big deal but it was the fact that they refused to grant such a simple request and would rather let my site remain broke is what was really fucked up. I’ve decided to cancel my plan with them and am now looking into new hosts. While Media Temple has good performance (in my experience), their support is total shit.

  34. Felipe

    Wow this was thorough, love the transparency and openness you provide. WPengine is going to regret stepping on your toes. I see this post being shared exponentially. Thanks for saving me money Matt, even though it cost you a lot of money and time. I appreciate it :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 20th, 2014 at 10:27 pm

      No worrys – I warned them in January face to face, and in email twice after that! It is what it is =\

  35. Daniel


    You have put together one of the most intense blog posts I’ve ever read. Your level of detail on the problems presented with WP Engine totally convinced me never to go with them. I had considered it as an option for my clients using WordPress but after your review I will consider your recommendation for Traffic Planet Hosting. Most of my clients are on a tight budget, but for clients who are willing to pay premium prices, I think I can convince them.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 20th, 2014 at 10:26 pm

      Thanks – hope it has helped save you some future problems!

  36. Yoan

    This story was kinda ridiculous, from one hell to another. Seriously, you read for 1 big problem with small solution, and go straight to the next one…

    How on earth were you so kind with them? I remember some chats with me and Hostgator support where I was expressing my honest wish to sexually abuse their mothers.. true story.

    No idea how you kept with this for 20 months!! If I was you I was going to take them to court!!!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 20th, 2014 at 10:24 pm

      Haha well if you are rude people don’t want to help!

      • gcampton
        May 21st, 2014 at 11:18 am

        They were helping you?

        • Matthew Woodward
          May 21st, 2014 at 8:48 pm

          Ok you got me there :P

  37. Luke Glassford

    Nice one Matt, been looking forward to this post!

    I had to laugh at this line: “They might as well have said your RSS feed is broken because you brushed your teeth this morning.” LOL

    As I mentioned on your previous post, I’ve had similar problems with another host recently and switched to Tsohost – they’ve proved to be pretty decent and site speed has improved by about 25% – so happy days!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 20th, 2014 at 10:23 pm

      Haha well thats about how relevant their solutions were!

  38. Rahat Bashar

    I can’t believe they inserted links into your site. I would’ve been seriously pissed if that happened to me.

    Terry’s a great guy, no matter what hosting issues I have, he personally emails me back and his team gets it fixed within a few hours… Always!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 20th, 2014 at 10:23 pm

      Yeah I created some new swear words that day!

  39. Brad Bowman

    We will definitely post a recap of your review on websiteservers.com

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 20th, 2014 at 10:22 pm

      Thanks dropped you an email!

  40. Ogi

    Oh, this post will cost them a lot! And it should.

    Honestly, I never liked them for one simple reason – if I can’t install whatever plugin I want on my own site – then go fuck yourself.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 20th, 2014 at 10:10 pm

      Well in some ways they are doing you a favour by not letting you install things they know will slow down your site. It’s good and bad really!

  41. bernard

    i followed your reco to wpengine 1 year ago for my main money site and as you say, good support and service since then.
    but some weeks ago, i have to buy (based on their reco) a subscription to cloudflare because it seems that my wpress site received too many “hits” and even i am on their 99$ plan, they charged for more hits. so now i am paying for cloudflare and for wpengine… and since 2 days i am getting 524 errors … something have definitively on wpengine. i have also an account on terrykyle hosting… a light account.. not sure if it is a so good hosting.. i already had some exhanges around php html things and it seems to me that the technical is not very quick to answer in agood way… but i have no more solutions to do the change of my site hosted at wpengine now.. grrrr i have to check another wp specialized hosting…

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 3:28 am

      Sorry to hear about that I hope you get your issues resolved. Traffic Planet Hosting has been great so far, but I used to say that about WPEngine – only time will tell :)

      • Bernard
        May 21st, 2014 at 8:41 am

        More about WPengine…Yesterday i get some traffic errors at WPengine server..
        I put a support request… this is the answer.. FUNNY !!!

        “…I checked your traffic log and saw you had a lot of foot traffic today. That maybe the cause for your slow site and 524 errors…”

        WHAT IS “FOOT TRAFFIC” ? i nvere heard this term !

        • Matthew Woodward
          May 21st, 2014 at 9:32 am

          Just out of interest what kind of traffic did you get? They are just talking about how many visitors you got.

          I would quote some of their testimonials from the home page and other bits they say on the front end, for example-

          “Our WordPress hosting architecture is hand-tuned to deliver you the fastest WordPress hosting around. And we give you our word that we’ll never take your site offline for having too much traffic.”

  42. Hector

    While I empathize with your situation Matt, you are being too self righteous. You say all that they care about is profit, well – don’t you?

    You recommended a service with such a small duration of sample size and earned commission on it. Did you think about the repercussions for your users from it? Are you going to refund the dollars that you earned as a referral?

    Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of yours but now you already have affiliate links to a new host, I know Kyle, he is a superb guy but aren’t you doing the same thing again….Well, blah…you get the point.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 3:28 am

      I just write from my experience, sometimes I have a good experience and sometimes a bad one.

      Take a look at the amount of effort/time I put into content, I could turn every article I write into a product and profit from it directly but instead I publish it for free.

      Likewise I could do a lot more to extract profits from readers if I wanted to – but that would be detrimental to the long term success of the blog.

    • John
      May 21st, 2014 at 7:12 am

      You’re asking him to refund the money he got from affiliate sales?

      You do know that even if he was able to refund to WPEngine, that money wouldn’t go back to the people who subscribed using his affiliate link. Right?

      When Matt recommended them, they were doing a good job. No-one knows what the future holds. I recommended a client to WP Engine myself on Matts recommendation, but I certainly don’t blame him. Shit happens.

      • Matthew Woodward
        May 21st, 2014 at 8:49 am

        Yeah it’s just one of those situations, they stood up to the test at the time and I tested them hard! Thats why I closed the article in the way I did, I don’t want TPH to follow their lead!

  43. Mike DeFelice

    What a freaking nightmare. There is no excuse for the lack of service that they provided. The list of excuses as to why your RSS subscribers no longer work is just unfathomable.

    One more company that I know to stay away from.

    When you add the inserted links into the equation, matters simply get worse. I can never imagine trusting a host with my business to only find out that they are stuffing links into my site. What a shame.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 3:25 am

      For the me the RSS issue was the one of the more damaging problems

  44. Roxana

    You know what I hate most, Matt?
    It’s when my efficiency and productivity is altered by others: like, I’m doing my best to do my sh*t, but others come and just mock everything.

    And that’s what WP Engine did. I can’t believe them, seriously. And you have proof from the emails.

    So many “gurus”, “experts” and they can’t even handle the support they state to have. And people are paying for this! If it was free, I’d close an eye, maybe, but it’s a paid service.

    I’m really wondering, will someone from WP Engine bother to explain, at least out of decency what just happened?
    Hope the new hosting company will be a better “partner” – cause that’s how I see things when you run a website & blog: your hosting company is like a “partner”, the one that best supports your business. Right? :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 3:23 am

      Actually I have been in good contact with them behind the scenes the past few weeks, I shot them an email to let them know what was about to happen so they could prepare a response.

      They even got sent this article 24 hours before it was published to get a heads up!

      • Roxana
        May 21st, 2014 at 9:18 am

        Wow, and they still said nothing? They’re “incredible”. Really. This silence won’t do them any good.

        How can they not care about what a client says? Or ex-client, for that matter…

        • Matthew Woodward
          May 21st, 2014 at 9:24 am

          Nahh nothing yet but you have to understand this is literally a minefield for them, I know what I would do but they have their own marketing/PR guys to deal with it.

  45. Jacob King

    Hey Matt, unfortunately I’ve shelled out some cash for this poor service also.

    One very interesting thing I noticed about the overage fees, my human traffic has always been like ~25% of what they we’re claiming my traffic was.

    They claimed it was from bot traffic and search engine spiders. Bots hitting my site 4-5 times as much as actual human visits??!! Nahh, I call bullshit.

    So here is the reality, and how they are probably pulling down big $$$$s from their user base, big money. It’s from comment spam, good old fashioned comment spam.

    This wonderful managed wordpress hosting provider have designed their pricing system to bend customers over for comment spam. I looked into my overage fee report which I never noticed the link in the sidebar for. My top page wound up being a page that gets like 100 visits per month, must have been picked up in a AA list or something. Akismet has been catching all the comments but the overage fees just keep on rolling in.

    Here I mentioned it on Facebook and got the run around about SE bots – http://www.jacobking.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/wpengine-facebook-exchange.png

    Then I sent in a ticket after I got hit big one month and it seemed like something they did not want to discuss. I sent this message and waited several days to hear back – http://www.jacobking.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/wpengine-overage-fee-support-ticket.png

    Then I resorted to twitter and finally got a response, at last, basically they said sorry and you should use a captcha – http://www.jacobking.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/wpengine-response.png

    Thanks guys, appreciate all your managed wordpress help, quick to turn a blind eye when comment spam is inflating your profits. Shit maybe they are even running a massive Scrapebox operation themselves spamming the hell out of all their customer blogs, getting crafty with that investor pressure.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 3:22 am

      Hi Jacob,

      Long time no speak!

      To be honest I had my doubts around that as well, as did Yeison from MyTanFeet.com but there is no real way to proove it one way or the other but it is a very very strange pricing structure – I don’t know anyone else that does that.

  46. Sharon

    Wow I really can not understand how a company can be so ridiculously bad. I can’t believe how patient you were with them!! Ain’t nobody got time for that ;)

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 3:20 am

      Well the more patient I was, the more rope they had to hang themselves with!

  47. Ian Chapman

    You hit the nail on the head at the very end of the article. The whole way through reading this article, I figured the most likely cause was a buyout from an investor who saw the profits, but didn’t understand how the company had arrived at them.

    Unfortunately, this kind of buyout activity is fairly common in the hosting industry.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 3:20 am

      Its common in every industry I think!

  48. Kevin Muldoon

    I am glad that you are using your profile to raise awareness of this issue Matthew.

    A lot of people have been duped into believing that $100 a month is ok for a small hosting plan that would cost $10 elsewhere. It would not be so bad if their support was good – though I seen firsthand how bad support was when my friend was hosted with them. Couldn’t even upload a tiny database because of timeouts and they took hours to get back to us about it.

    However, the biggest issue is their policy about interfering with customer’s websites. They seem to think they have the right to modify data and delete essential plugins if it puts any strain on their server. No hosting company should ever change anything on your account without first consulting you.

    I’m shocked they moved your account without asking you. Can you imagine what would have happened if you had been on holiday at the time? Your website could have been down for weeks.

    Glad you are now with a better hosting company. If you ever want advice about an issue, be sure to email me. I’m not an expert, though I have been through many website hosting problems myself in the past, so I should be able to point you in the right direction :)


    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 9:00 am

      Man you should try using PHPMyAdmin to export even the smallest of tables or any WordPress backup plugin – the whole thing falls over!

      Thanks for your offer of support much appreciated :)

  49. Shane Labs

    Hey Matt –

    What an awesome post. So many web host reviews are purely subjective, it’s nice to come across one with so many facts that cannot be refuted!

    I had a similar crappy experience with HostGator and I ended up switching (did the same before and after tests like you did, and was very happy with my new host – documented here: http://www.sideprojectprofit.com/hostgator-alternative-screams-performance-stablehost-review/)

    These WP Engine guys seem like thieves. I really appreciate the heads up – I’ll stay far, far away from them!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 3:13 am

      Thanks :)

  50. Peter Nikolow

    Huh… this seems as neverending story, but i read it all! I also think that WPE grow too quick and this cause major problems for them. Probably if they grow slow this can be skipped, but you know… PROFIT is root of all evil.

    Seems that your story have happyend, but how many business will be ruined meanwhile?

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 2:24 am

      From the looks of the comments I’m approving, a bunch!

  51. Sam

    Hi Matt,

    I am glad I read your detailed review about WPE. But I have changed my mind and let my customers about this. They have defiantly lost 1+ many other customers. Good for them.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 2:24 am

      Glad it helped you out!

  52. Andrea Whitmer

    Thanks for this detailed post. I have recommended against WPE more times than I can count – when I have dealt with them on behalf of clients, I’ve found their support to be just as clueless about WordPress as any host’s support team. Response times were poor, suggested solutions were ridiculous…. Very similar to what you’ve outlined here. Shared on all my social accounts in hopes that other people won’t get sucked into the hype machine!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 2:23 am

      Thanks very much for sharing :)

  53. Jonathan

    Wow, glad to know that the slow admin isn’t just me. I thought it was a plugin and have been weary on what I install because of it. Those 20+ second admin times are ridiculous!!

    I tried a fee other hosts but there either too expensive or don’t offer as much as wpengine. I host about 20 sites so the moves has to be seamless.

    I’ll check out those guys you mentioned. Great article!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 2:22 am

      Are you having that experience with WP Engine?

  54. Hildegarde Neufellner

    Hey, Matthew
    Why does it say that your website is hosted by Hostcolor.com?

    P.S. i am a complete noob!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 2:20 am

      I believe that is the data center that TPH uses

  55. Gage

    Sounds about the same here. I have two accounts with them: an early one when they were giving away lifetime hosting at events to drum up their name and a second that I put a handful of friends’ non-profit sites on.

    The free one, overall, is doing great. Everything lines up with the promises from a couple of years ago.

    The paid one… Well… Yeah.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 2:19 am

      That is very interesting!

  56. AD

    Great article truly helping the people out there. I love your work buddy. You are one such asset to this community. All your articles are thoroughly written to answer all aspects of queries. I wonder how long did it took to compile this long one? .. hehe

    By the way I like terry’s site and hosting but it seems they don’t have smaller plans for one site and for the starters I want to recommend terry but due to a bit higher cost of 24$ a month people tends to marry the cheap hosts for 9$ or less. Any suggestion on that or you can convince terry to introduce a smaller plan.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 2:18 am

      Haha well this took from about 1pm-9pm Sunday, then 10am-6pm Monday to put together! Always have to be careful when writing an article of this manner!

      I don’t think Terry is aiming for the budget end of the market, you could try JustHost though

  57. rakesh patel;

    Matthew very interesting post. found this via a link on the facebook advance wordpress group. I’ve been a wpengine customer for around a year now and have also noticed a drop in quality and have the same issues in times logging in and out.

    I’d move away but the killer app they have is the staging environment for testing and the quick backup and restore points. As soon as another host has this, i’m off!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 2:15 am

      Sounds like an awesome group got a link for that?

      Yes the staging area is great but you can replicate that with a subdomain and WP Clone

      • rakesh patel
        May 22nd, 2014 at 1:17 am

        here, you go https://www.facebook.com/groups/advancedwp
        it’s actually a pretty great advanced group.

        A link to you post has been doing the rounds and a rep from wp engine is there so maybe you’ll get a bit more response to your issues to help benefit everyone.

        • Matthew Woodward
          May 22nd, 2014 at 4:17 pm

          Awww I can’t access it, feel free to share any screenshots from there and I will add them to the post!

  58. Jeff Matson

    I represent another host and I would be ashamed if we did even a slight bit of any of this. The few quality hosts out there try to stick together and push the poor quality ones away. Thanks for helping our cause of trying to make a better internet by posting this.

    Sadly, they were at one point a solid host but as I have been reading lately, it looks like they’re going downhill.

    Hopefully all of your issues are solved with your new host and if you ever need anything from us, let me know. Of course, my email is in the comment.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 2:13 am

      Thats very kind of you thank you!

  59. Dario Zadro

    Love this post! I rant all the time about how all web hosting sucks, see #25 here http://zadroweb.com/50-quick-fire-seo-tips-tricks/ (sorry but no experience with TrafficPlanet but assume they will eventually fade like WP Engine).

    On that note, I wrote a super quick tutorial to get your own VPS setup in no time here http://zadroweb.com/quickstart-server-lamp-setup-digital-ocean/

    For $5/month you can have a blazing fast server with your own IP, it’s amazing.

    Thanks again!


    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 2:11 am

      That assumes I have the time to manage & maintain it – which I don’t :(

      Good tips though!

  60. Travis

    Yah, I did plan to go with WP Engine for the heck of it a while back, but that’s when I thought generic “web hosting” was good.

    Matt, if I were you, I would ditch web hosting in general, because it sucks being on a SHARED server, cause most of what you get is SHARED with others, such as IP’s, and server space.

    I now use a VPS, although it branches off a dedi. It’s so much faster, no lag spikes either. No need to worry about someone on the “shared server” getting hit with a ddos attack or just large spikes of traffic.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 2:09 am

      Yeah I have thought about that but its more work to manage & setup etc

      • Travis Ingram
        May 22nd, 2014 at 1:40 am

        Overall, I think it’s worth the time, especially the experience to. I’ve had to rebuild my server a few times from being a newbie, and now I generally have it all done within the hour if I have to help someone else.

        Email me if you ever think about making the switch, I would be more than happy to help out and get it setup for you. (Email is attached to comment).

        • Matthew Woodward
          May 22nd, 2014 at 4:15 pm

          I think if this site ever hit 300,000 uniques in a month it would warrant looking at something like that – thanks for the offer of help, maybe I’ll take you up on that one day :P

  61. jay

    I absolutely love your honesty and no bullshit reviews and tutorials Matt. You are one of the few online who actually will tell it like it is.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:59 am

      Well I couldn’t tell it like it is without WP Engine!

  62. Charles Floate

    Sad to see you’ve had these god-awful experiences with WPEngine Matt.

    I’ve been using MDDHosting for the past 7-8 months on my blog and they’re truly fantastic.

    They moved my blog from HostGator for free, within 25 minutes of me opening the ticket – Replied to my ticket this Sunday just 17 minutes after I’d made it! They know their sh*t too!

    Recommend them (without an affiliate link, hehe) all day long!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 9:08 am

      Can’t knock that level of support. WP Engine support is closed at the weekend I believe.

  63. Ahmad Awais

    Hey Mathew,
    That link in your footer and all what you explained made me shift both of my sites which were previously hosted with WP Engine to KnownHost.

    Hosting companies involved in sneaky links are really scary ones. All I know is this Managed WordPress thing actually messes up everything.

    Thanks for the heads up.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:59 am

      No worrys – how have you found the new host?

  64. AJ Morris

    Very detailed report. Thanks for taking such the same time to go into that detail. I myself have just switched to Siteground as I no longer have time to manage my own VPSes. I’ve been happy with them so far.

    I did want to point out something you mentioned in your article though. You mentioned that WPEngine put a link in your footer. While Traffic Planet Hosting didn’t put a link in your footer, they did put “All rights reserved trafficplanethosting” in your footer. To me that gives me the impression you’ve given up your content to them as well. I hate to say it, but that scares me. I would never want to host a site with a company that is going to put something like that in my footer.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:58 am

      Actually I manually edited that into the footer.php file when moving the site over so I could tell if the DNS update propogated and whether I was hitting the site on WP Engine or Traffic Planet Hosting :)

      Nice spot though going to remove that now, totally forgot ^^

  65. Matthew Woodward

    You can do that with .htaccess code, I don’t have it to hand right now sorry but drop me a mail!

    • Hammad Rafique
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:52 am

      Ok! thanks! but what’s the reason of using the www version of domain? I saw in your conversation with WP engine’s support where you were saying that you are using www version of domain because of some SEO purpose.

      • Matthew Woodward
        May 21st, 2014 at 9:32 am

        It doesn’t really matter which you use, just don’t use both! Be consistent and make sure you always end up on one or the other

      • Ansel Taft
        May 21st, 2014 at 8:21 pm

        www. is the ‘old school’ way of setting up a site. More and more folks are jumping ship and leaving that behind in favor of saving their visitors a few keystrokes.

        • Matthew Woodward
          May 21st, 2014 at 8:36 pm

          Thats the beauty of the .htaccess setup it doesnt matter what they type :)

        • Jon Baldie
          June 3rd, 2014 at 8:00 am

          It’s so commonplace nowadays that the average PC user (and most businesses I see and talk to) think it’s compulsory to type before a domain name.

    • Hammad Rafique
      May 21st, 2014 at 9:22 am

      Also don’t have your email matt.

  66. Casey

    I seen that link in your footer for the longest, I was like, “Wtf is this?”

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:56 am

      Imagine my reaction :P You should of seen the first email I wrote ^^

  67. Andrew Hiddleston

    Thanks Matt!! Killer write-up man, I was on the verge of transferring a few personal and client sites to WP Engine.

    No change in that happening now. Really appreciate the level of detail man. I think you are right, their rapid growth has taken them by surprise.

    I cannot image having money or client sites down for days at a time. Unacceptable no matter their excuse.


    • Matthew Woodward
      May 20th, 2014 at 10:26 pm

      No worrys glad it helped!

      • Andrew Hiddleston
        May 20th, 2014 at 10:31 pm

        Reading those emails they sent — you have more patience then a flipping saint man lol – i would have been through the roof after a month let alone 7 or 8.

        • Matthew Woodward
          May 21st, 2014 at 3:26 am

          Hahaha patience just allows people to hang themselves, if I flew off the handle in the emails/support the problems would have probably been worse!

  68. Sairam

    Matt, I admire all your efforts to legitimately share your experiences and educate users. Your site has become my next favourite site after Pat Flynn. I love what you do and the sincere efforts you put in writing your posts. In fact in your mail today, you had given a link to SEO Powersuite and also explained it in a video. Although you sent the mail to read this post, I ended up buying the SEO Powersuite from your link. I would love to see more tips/videos from you in terms of how to use this tool more effectively. Is this helpful for keyword research or should I use separate tools like market samurai or Longtail Pro? what’s your view?

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:55 am

      Hahaha yeah Pat Flynn is like super awesome, would love to meet him one day :)

      Did you watch the tutorial?

  69. Maxwell

    It took me 2 hours to read all the case study. Sounds very frustrating Mathew. What a Patience you have :)

    My story: back in 2011 I had hosting with justhost, when my blog’s traffic reached around 500/day they suspended my account due to exceeding bandwidth limit :( and said you should move your site to any other host because we only provide services to small businesses and can’t handle traffic you’re getting for your site. at that time they only offered shared hosting, I don’t know if they have started to offer VPS or dedicated servers. I got really frustrated and shutdown my blog forever. :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:54 am

      Man that sounds awful – you should of just moved it over! Let me know if you start it again and need help with that

  70. jack karter

    What struck me after reading your post was the incredible patience you had when faced with such hair pulling incompetence. I would have packed up and moved on within a couple of weeks at most. I had to laugh at the irony in the intro North Bridge have on their landing page “North Bridge invests in exceptional people whose ideas have the potential to disrupt the way we live and work”. Pretty apt.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:42 am

      Well they certainly invested in the right company then!

  71. Jose

    Hi Matt. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I was considering moving all my websites to wpengine, but I´m glad I read this on time.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:53 am

      No worrys glad to be of service Jose!

  72. Sushil Sharma

    I thought that these kind of things happens only on godaddy, I trust on WPE, but not anymore after reading this huge and huge story… Matt – how much time you have spent to write this long and details.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:53 am

      About 16 hours in total!

      • Rudd
        May 21st, 2014 at 2:06 pm

        Wow. That’s a lot of time you spent. I really appreciate what you wrote in this article. It’s long but it’s worth your time to read every single word

        • Matthew Woodward
          May 21st, 2014 at 8:40 pm

          Yeah I took my time with this one, has to be written in a very particular way – it’s a thin line to walk!

  73. Pratik Unadkat

    Just set it in your Settings > General area from WordPress. :)

    As for Matt, truly a frustrating experience man – can feel for you. Several years ago, I had too galloped from one place to another, although not for WordPress, but either way, hosting issues are some of the worst pains to deal with in IM.

    I can’t believe hosts do not put time in giving a great customer support – that would only help them reach out to more people. It’s a shame.


    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:51 am

      Yeah finding a long term reliable host is next to impossible in my experience!

  74. Curt

    Hey Matt –

    Just wanted too stop by and say thank you for following up on this. You saved me from the WP Engine headache a couple weeks ago when you first mentioned your issues and recommended TPH.

    I moved a site to TrafficPlanet and have been really happy with site speed (literally twice as fast as basic GoDaddy for wait times/loading). Customer service and support has been great, too, and Terry makes sure things are in order.

    Anyway, many thanks, really stoked you wrote this post, too – will save many people a lot of trouble.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:50 am

      Yeah I agree I have followed Terry for a number of years and he is truly a stand up guy. If he messed things up, he would take ownership of that and fix it rather than passing the blame around.

  75. Julien

    Hi Matt,

    It was a long post but I reached the end. It’s absolutely unbelievable. The sad thing is that I just send one client to them and now I regret it badly!

    Anyway thanks for sharing this experience and be assured that I won’t send anyone to WPE anymore.


    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:49 am

      Sorry about that!

  76. Jack

    Why don’t you use a dedicated server ? It’s around $174 per month. Looking at your income report you can easily afford it.

    You are always going to have issues with shared hosting

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:49 am

      It’s just too much hassle to manage, I have a dedi for one of my other sites and it requires a lot of looking after at times =\

  77. Brendan

    I had the same experience from day 1. Plugin installs failing and the dreaded memory exhausted issue! I wrote them off as a high priced shared host that has too much control. I ended up with a much much better option so I’m thankfull.

    If your in Australia I highly recommend http://vpsblocks.com.au
    Will is very helpful and support is top notch.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:47 am

      Sorry to hear about that – seems they just need more RAM in the servers!

  78. Harish

    Wow, Thanks for sharing this Matthew. I just had a live chat with WPEngine about moving my site there but guess it’s not worth it. Even on basic shared host, using CDN and Caching plugin, I have managed to get under 1sec load time http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/#!/c2IhnJ/flattrendz.com. Don’t want to pay double to go through all the frustrations you have been through.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:46 am

      Well if you already have a good load time, don’t fix what isn’t broken ^^

  79. Will

    I am soooo happy I never switched to them! Great report, i’ve got the popcorn at the ready!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:45 am

      Let’s see what happens! Not written a popcorn post for a while!

  80. Lincoln Barros

    Thanks for your post Matthew!

    I’m a long time reader but first time poster. I was just about to move our site to WP Engine this week and have since stopped proceedings after reading your article.

    I’m in a similar boat with my current host and would have just been trading the same problems from one host to another. I think it’s time to set up my own server.

    Thanks again for amazing and well appreciated writing for an amazing blog.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:45 am

      Thanks for getting involved :)

  81. Rick Sportel

    Hi Matt,

    I was among the people that sent you positive feedback about WP Engine. My experience with them so far is great, just like yours in the beginning!

    But now that I read this… It’s just frightening!

    Everybody writing about WordPress hosting keeps shouting like ‘WP Engine is the best of the best’… But if you read this you know they are just not!

    It looks like they can’t cope with their rapid growth… And as a result they have to hire people that don’t even know which code or file is WordPress core and what is part of a plugin. It’s sad.

    It got me thinking last night and I couldn’t stop thinking about it…

    Defenitely will consider moving my websites I work(ed) hard for.

    Thanks for waking me and others up!



    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:44 am

      Hi Rick,

      Well if you are having a great experience with them you should stick by them :)

      • Rick Sportel
        May 21st, 2014 at 1:00 pm

        You’re right, that’s an option. Option 1.

        I can sit back and wait for the trouble to come and get experienced with WP Engine like you. On the other hand maybe things will work out fine. Who knows…

        But what I’m sure about is what you told me in your post. So I know things CAN go wrong in the future. Do I want to take the risk?

        Option 2 is moving the site before things go wrong…

        Since a while there’s also a Dutch Managed WordPress Hosting company. When I decided to choose WP Engine, I also considered this company from NL.

        I’ll contact them again and share your post to find out their opinion.

        • Matthew Woodward
          May 21st, 2014 at 8:43 pm

          Yeah that will be interesting to hear – but look at it like this, WP Engine can’t afford to keep delivering a bad experience – things have to change for the better.

  82. CJ

    Thanks for sharing your experience,

    I also experienced a decline in the quality of another popular managed WordPress hosting, the load speed of the site was slow & suddenly I realized it wasn’t worth it anymore.

    They also increased the fee for their plans but they kept me on the same plan for a year, which was very nice of them & for that I won’t name the company

    Anyway, I moved the site back to a reliable shared hosting company I had tested for over six months and with my little knowledge in WordPress, I set the site to be as fast & stable as possible.

    Result – site load speed is now less than a second from 4.8 seconds & it’s averaging about 1100 organic page views per day without any server issue.

    I’m begging to loose trust in the whole Managed WordPress business model.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:44 am

      Name & shame man, don’t let your silence be bought!

  83. alan

    I think its the correct time to blast the mu**** companys domain with the “managed wordpress hosting” keyword…
    and let them dance with google.

    Really angry after reading yout entire post.

    Atleast I can help them in some -ve way

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 9:28 am

      Hahaha thats not my style personally although it would be very easy to do. I’m pretty sure Google is a client of theirs though.

      • alan
        May 21st, 2014 at 7:30 pm

        Its my humble request to you, that you add “wp engine review” keyword in the begining of this post, so we can save many people from falling in this trap.

        The worst thing here is- that you cannot wish to get more visitors..as more visitors means longer bills…. I won’t recommend this host to even my enemy.

        • Matthew Woodward
          May 21st, 2014 at 8:26 pm

          Just need some links and it will rank!

          More visitors usually means more profit though ^^

  84. ivan

    Hey Matthew, do you know where the TrafficPlanet Hosting servers are located? Are you using a CDN as well?

    • ivan
      May 21st, 2014 at 9:00 am

      Oh, sorry, ignore this, i just saw it in the comments. I have a question though. Does your site load up fast from the USA and Asia with their built in CDN, or would you rather recommend a separate CDN for those regions (IF the servers of Traffic Planet hosting are located in Europe)?

      • Matthew Woodward
        May 21st, 2014 at 9:27 am

        Give it a test yourself with webpagetest.org :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 9:27 am

      I believe in the USA and yes its amazon S3 I think (WPEngine uses maxcdn)

  85. Colin


    I know you emailed me about this and I have to admit I still feel pretty pissed of with you because you recommended this firm in the first place. I’ve lost a lot of money and a shed load of time with WP Engine and their crap service and appalling site speed times.

    But to be fair to you – it is always down to me to do my homework first – Caveat Emptor – and I didn’t – I just blindly followed your recommendation so yes it’s partly my fault.

    So – I have to take it on the chin and at least you’ve now been upfront and totally honest about what’s gone on with this company. I know that you genuinely know your stuff and you would never have recommended this firm if you knew that they were going to turn out like they did.

    I’m back with Hostgator now – cheap and cheerful and enough for my site. It’s a tad ironic that I never had a problem with them in the first place and I’ve always found their 24hr Live Chat support to be very helpful.

    Lesson learned.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 9:26 am

      Hi Colin,

      I’m very sorry about that and well at least we are in the same boat =/ When I recommended them they were the best host I have ever worked with, I couldn’t believe it!

      But I have seen many hosts give a great service that has degraded over time. There is certainly room for Terry do shake things up!

      Apologies for your problems :(

      • Colin
        May 21st, 2014 at 9:36 am

        Apology accepted Matt and good on you for being upfront and honest – it’s the only way to be.

        • Matthew Woodward
          May 21st, 2014 at 9:39 am

          Thanks man! I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt but they just hung themselves further =/

  86. Matthew Woodward

    Just wait for the next income report :) Here is a sneak peek http://i.imgur.com/ucae5yk.jpg

  87. Kevin Purchase

    Thanks for sharing this. I have obviously been looking around at hosting very recently, and almost went with these guys until I got a recommendation for a cheaper host from someone else. Dodged a bullet there I think!

    More importantly, the timing of their cancellation was absolutely shocking. You were so f*cking busy before moving, this is definitely something you could have done without!

    See you soon.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:51 pm

      Well in this case you certainly didn’t get what you paid for! Unless they were selling a fingering, I certainly got that.

  88. zebra web designs

    I always suspected they are not good. worked with a client project on their server around 5 months back. the site was totally screwed up and my client didnt listen to my words. For her the speed matters. Thanks for your detailed article. atleast I can defend my clients if they dont listen to me.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      Hahaha feel free to use it as a reference point!

  89. Nikhil Waghdhare

    I am thinking WP engine was great, but after reading your review about it I have to change my mind. It’s really horrible to see WP engine at this level.
    Thank you for suggesting the another great service like WP engine… :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:43 am

      I would like to say my experience is not typical, but reading through the comments it seems pretty standard =/ It’s a shame, they were so awesome I can’t stress that enough to you!

  90. Tushar Thakur

    Nice and honest review bud. I checked that last mentioned hosting, it is having 25-29 bucks per month. What I want to ask you is should I choose it now? I mean I am having around 60-75K monthly visitors and working fine with Bluehost shared hosting.

  91. Michael Sitver

    I’m in hosting nirvana right now. When I went looking for a managed host, I tried WP-Engine. It was very fast, at the start, but their support sucked, especially for smaller customers, and it was very expensive.

    A few months ago, I found Flywheel, a small hosting startup for designers, specifically for managed wordpress. They have free migrations, sites are very fast (sub-one-second load times, usually), and support is great.

    Sometimes their email support can be a bit slow, because they only have a few employees, but in emergencies, they’ve always been plenty fast. They even have an emergency phone number. When my site went viral (20,000 visitors a day), they handled the traffic with ease, and without a complaint, or raise in price.

    I also frequently have my tickets responded to by the founder.

    Love it.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:47 pm

      Thats the best kind of hosting company :)

  92. Craig

    What a terrible service, especially for how expensive the hosting is. You should be ok with Terry he knows his shit.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:44 pm

      That he does!

  93. Gray

    There are two shower of shit hosts that I stay away from – WP Engine and Streamline.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:44 pm

      Whats your experience with steamline?

  94. Mike

    Wow bud, you hung on a lot longer than I would have. I’m a three-strikes-and-you’re-out kind of guy. Especially with all the revenue you were missing out on with that load speed.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:44 pm

      Well I gave them every chance in the world at every level of the company =/

  95. Jo O'Connor

    Matthew, you have had a rum do with WP Engine. I have never used them only Hostgator but its good to know what they are about. If the service was so good initially, it must be the case that they got rid of those people and put inexperienced people in the job on lower pay. That is all I can think of when initially the service was excellent.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      Thats typically what happens when a company grows unfortunately

  96. Marc

    This post makes me glad that I never chose to go with WP Engine. The most surprising thing to me is that you stayed with them for as long as you did. 8 months of trying to work with them on these issues is a long time.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:41 pm

      Well finding & moving to a new host is a huge task, this year has been incredibly busy but eventually they forced my hand =\

  97. Rishit Shah

    Glad to hear from you that such a company can do this and feeling sorry about your WP Engine experience.
    I am happy that persons like you are going against big companies like WP Engine and previously Ravens Tools. :)

  98. jasa seo

    Hi Matt,

    So full dissapointed and honest article but with great review in it.. nicee. I would do the same if i were u, but i dont know if i could be so patient like u did :D, have the same problem in several months that’s crazy, hope u got best solution in your new host, cheers

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      Thanks Jasa :)

  99. Boris Beo

    Hey Matt,

    First time visitor here. No hosting company should treat their customers this way and I applaud you for being transparant about your experience.

    I never understood why people went with WP Engine. Why would anyone in their right mind pay $29 a month to be able to host ONE WordPress website?

    I’ve always relied on my own research when it comes to choosing a hosting company. And I’m really happy with the one I’ve got.

    You really should look into getting a VPS account with your own IP address. You get all the benefits of a dedicated server, but without the hassle to maintain it.

    Currently, you’re sharing your IP address with 43 other websites, which isn’t an ideal situation. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you why ;)

    Good luck with your new host. I hope they will treat you much better.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      I would like to hear why you think sharing the IP is a problem

      • Boris Beo
        May 21st, 2014 at 9:25 pm

        I’m not referring to the “bad IP neighbourhood” theory where your website can get penalized by Google because of what some other website on the same IP address is doing.

        Matt Cutts busted that myth in this post: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/myth-busting-virtual-hosts-vs-dedicated-ip-addresses/

        On the other hand, that post is published nearly eight years ago, so who’s to say it couldn’t be the case now?

        My main issue with a shared IP address is the impact it can have on email spam filters. I guess it depends on your email marketing strategy and the tools you are using.

        If you’re using an email service provider, this probably isn’t a huge concern. I’m using self-hosted email marketing software, which makes this a priority.

        Personally, I dislike any scenario where I’m dependant on what others are doing, so I believe owning my own IP address is worth the investment ;)

        I’m by no means bashing shared hosting. My suggestion to switch came from seeing what you used to pay at WP Engine. That money could have bought you a very nice VPS with a dedicated support team…

        • Matthew Woodward
          May 22nd, 2014 at 4:18 pm

          Interesting point! For anything important I’m using SendGrid – even a dedicated IP can still be blacklisted on mail servers and even if its not, they are rarely whitelisted =/

    • E
      May 22nd, 2014 at 1:44 am

      I’m curious as well – what’s the issue with a shared ip?

      • Matthew Woodward
        May 22nd, 2014 at 4:18 pm

        See above just approved it :)

  100. Glenn Dixon


    Just wondering if you’ve seen this post from WPEngine and what your thoughts are?


    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 8:35 pm

      Ahhh I hadn’t seen that actually – doesn’t really get into the nitty gritty just usual corporate spiel & propaganda =\

      • David Fox
        May 22nd, 2014 at 1:07 am

        I’m a – happy to date – WPE user who has followed the writer of said blog post for a while through his blog http://blog.asmartbear.com – I’d suggest reading some of his other writing/missives. He comes across to me as anything but a speaker of corporate spiel & propaganda. The post reads to me as anything but a CYA exercise.

        I’m not dismissing the issues you had nor the effort involved in documenting…clearly they’ve had some growing pains. As one who has 30 year experience in world of tech I can only say I’ve seen it all before, but Jason’s note gives me hope that this period will be a blip, not business as usual.

        • Matthew Woodward
          May 22nd, 2014 at 3:58 am

          It follows one of the oldest PR strategies straight out of a college/uni textbook – admit where your wrong, say sorry then distract/bait and switch with future promises/what your good at.

          That’s what I mean by typical marketing propaganda – there is no substance to the response nor does it actually address any points raised here or by other commenters. Just meaningless politician style waffle, don’t fall for it.

          The post was written by Tina Dobie but published by Jason, she probably learnt business in school rather than by running an actual business. Textbook example!

          • Mat
            May 25th, 2014 at 1:07 am

            Just going to jump in here

            Your post was interesting Matt so not trying to undermine it but reading the post, and really knowing how Jason speaks and the typical things he refers to (I have read and watched pretty much all his stuff), it definitely seems written by him, and if not by him he for sure had a dominant hand in writing it.

            Not only that in the comments he’s referred multiple times to the fact he wrote it.

            Obviously apologies like this have become the norm in PR land though, which is why people don’t take it seriously, but once again having followed Jason for a very long time I find it hard not to take it seriously. He’s a very, very switched on guy.

          • Matthew Woodward
            May 25th, 2014 at 6:33 pm

            Well that is quite possible I just took that from the last paragraph but I suppose he has to write in a different manner when writing for WPEngine vs his own blog.

            Hopefully he is the kind of guy to take these problems by the balls and fix them :)

  101. Dave Goodwin

    This post just might surpass the famous “United breaks guitars” as the greatest customer feedback of all time. Wow.

    As someone who is planning to launch a WP-centric managed hosting service this post is gold. Thank you for sharing your story and it’s a great guide for us where things can and will go wrong. I can see WP Engine being crushed under its own success by failing to scale their internal processes from infrastructure to customer service.

    As an aside can you elaborate on how you are able to so precisely map load time delays to dollars lost?

    Great post!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 21st, 2014 at 9:09 pm
      • Dave Goodwin
        August 27th, 2014 at 7:04 pm

        Hi Mathew,

        You asked me to let you know when we launched so here it is.

        We have opened our business web hosting services to beta testing at no cost until we launch publicly on Oct 1. And then, we will give 50% off to the beta domains for as long as they remain with us.

        Beta partners will be migrated to their included staging server which is noindexed and can then go live once everything is nominal.

        The service. This post is about WP Engine so in that context…

        It’s similar but there are differences.

        1. We’ll host other CMS’ besides WP (Joomla, Drupal)
        2. We offer free migration
        3. All plans are CDN integrated.
        4. We use bandwidth instead of visitors. Thanks to your experience in this post we went with bandwidth. Visitors does make for easier marketing though since a number “visitors” is a more tangible thing than a terabyte.
        5. Only our basic plan is shared hosting. The other 2 are in VPS dedicated environment.
        6. We will manage WP or hand off to capable customers.
        7. We don’t yet have an affiliate/reseller program but it will be coming.

        Other features similar to WPE include daily offsite backups, staging area, malware scan/fix, Git integration, 60-day guarantee.

        Check us out at growinge.com, there is an long Q&A on the home page. Note: beta slots are limited.

        Finally, all constructive feedback and questions are welcome.

  102. E

    So, on this post, which might have been written as a response to this:


    I posted the following comment:

    “You guys have a 93% satisfaction rating? I’m assuming that’s after the individuals that were unsatisfied moved away? I came and went a while back and don’t remember ever getting a satisfaction survey.

    Quite frankly, your customer service and tech support is the pits – and the worst part is, it’s trending worse, not better. I understand within growth stages there are going to be times when you have to ramp up, etc, but the changes within WPE reflect a paradigm shift and change in approach that should be worrisome for anyone on your platform.

    It’s obvious WPE’s business and architecture decisions are being driven by marginal cost and focused on quantity, not quality. E.g. hoping Varnish hides the deplorable app server performance. (How many hours do devs have to waste waiting for your app servers to grind away in the backend?) Sure, for end users they get served cached copies, but the backend performance is laughable. The WPE app servers have become a punchline in and of itself.

    You charge a premium for your service offering, but it isn’t reflected in your support. For example, there is no reasonable excuse for a ticket that has been received and touched during business hours to wait until the next day for resolution. None. Period. And the internal policies that allow for that kind of a situation belie the commitment that a vendor or service provider of your caliber should operate under – especially when you claim to provide a premium level of service.

    This entire post is specious marketing-tripe. It even follows the standard cliche PR formula. Acknowledge the failings, apologize, point to progress being made, etc…except for the fact that there is little sign that WPE is going in the right direction. WPE’s reputation, at least among the developer groups I participate in, is getting progressively worse. Taking it further, the “marketing partners” that sing your praises and claim that customer service is unsurpassed are (rightfully) taking a reputation hit for attesting to something so patently untrue.

    If you want to be taken seriously, make sure your actions and policies are commensurate with your claims. Spurious assertions can’t be cashed in, no matter how many times you repeat them while clicking your heels.

    “Our support does not suck. Our support does not suck. Our support does not suck.”

    Nope. Still sucks.

    We’re not in Kansas anymore, and the WPE of yore no longer exists. You know that. We know that. You wish it weren’t true. We wish it weren’t true.

    If you really believe, as this post states, that the issues with WPE are isolated and uncommon, then there really is no hope – because until you see it as an existential crisis, you won’t give the issue (and solution) the credence it requires.”

    Want to bet some $$ on whether or not they will approve and respond?

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 22nd, 2014 at 4:15 pm

      Well given their delicate position it would be stupid of them to censor anything on that post

  103. Emory

    Maybe they are getting bought out by these guys: http://www.nouptime.com

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 22nd, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      Wahahaha that is fantastic! Someone should create a WPEngine parody!

  104. Michael

    I highly recommend the hosting company Nexcess. Their support go above and beyond to help you and make sure everything is running as expected. (I am just a happy customer).

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 22nd, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      Good to know thanks!

  105. Sagar Jain

    Hie, great article and thanks for saving me to move to wp-engine, i’m currently with hostwinds can you tell me is it good hosting to stay with them ?

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 22nd, 2014 at 4:12 pm

      Only something like http://www.webpagetest.org/ can tell you that combined with your experience of support/down time

  106. George Cain

    Maybe it’s time to move to WPGigagbyte?
    They got awesome support and fast servers.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 22nd, 2014 at 4:12 pm

      Never tried them myself!

  107. Berto López

    What I found most incredible is the stupidity of the way they act.

    I mean they deal with somebody who is already a well-known person in the Internet space, who makes reviews, who already published some post reporting bad service from a company.

    Knowing posts like this from an influential blogger tend to go viral and therefore can make HUGE damage to a brand I cannot believe what their attitude has been.

    I my case, fortunately my blog is quite well-known too in my space, althogh it cannot be compared to yours. But my point is that knowing that, my hosting provider treats my like a friend. Lot’s of interaction, help, fast responses, etc.

    I write, among other things, about hosting they work hard on providing prove that they do their best to provide excellent service to me and to their customers in general. Thus I have “no other choice” but to saying good things about them.

    That’s the only smart attitude a service provider can adopt in such a situation. Should be quite obvious.

    Warm Regards,

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 22nd, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      Well I had already ran a competition with them, promoted their service & driven sales/leads.

      But at least you can be comfortable in the knowledge that if they treat someone who has reach like this, someone that doesn’t have reach isn’t going to get any special treatment.

  108. Sereyboth

    I am using a2 managed VPS and it works well for me and my WP sites. I think a lot of people promote WP engine because they pay high commission to affiliate!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 22nd, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      Actually they pay the same as HostGator if you ask HostGator nicely :)

  109. Chris
    • Matthew Woodward
      May 22nd, 2014 at 4:07 pm

      Perhaps that review needs updating ^^

  110. Evan

    Hey Matt,

    This is one of those situations where its so bad you gotta laugh or you’d be smashing stuff up left right and centre. I can’t believe you stuck with them for so long.

    Great write up tho. Their founder should hang his head in shame for all the bs and broken promises. I guess he got to the point where he’s banking hard and doesn’t care about his companies or his own reputation anymore. So sad when that happens.

    We just moved hosting from BlueHost to Traffic Planet hosting after having some serious problems with Bluehost over the past few months.

    They somehow managed to direct the mobile version of our site to some adult dating site. God knows how they managed that. Plus a ton of downtime which looks terrible when you got potential clients worth 1,000s checking you out.

    Traffic Planet has been sweet so far, fast, reliable and good support which is all you want from a host really.

    Hope the pura vida is treating you well.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 22nd, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      Well I’m assuming when the big investment came one of the co-founders just took his payout and ran.

      Pura vida mi amigo!

  111. David Fox
    • Matthew Woodward
      May 23rd, 2014 at 12:10 am

      Nice link thanks!

  112. Adrian

    Great post Matt!

    I’ve been looking forward to it after I saw your first tweet when you spotted the link injection.

    I hope some good comes of the outing. It certainly helped me with my site up scaling choice. Thank you.

    Bet you wish you could automate your answers on all the vps/dedicated recommendations though :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 23rd, 2014 at 12:09 am

      Hahaha I will find a way :P

  113. Kenjie S. Suarez

    You should try LightningBase. I’ve been with them for a year, but never have I experienced those issues mentioned above.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 23rd, 2014 at 12:08 am

      Thanks for sharing!

  114. David McSweeney

    Sorry to hear of your issues Matt. Assuming you can configure your own server I would highly recommend Rackspace Cloud hosting. Been using them for 5 years (and 3 before on a completely dedicated box) and never had any issues.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 23rd, 2014 at 6:32 pm

      Thanks for the tips!

  115. Rod Bryant

    Great post. What a detailed description, and you showed a lot of patience.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 23rd, 2014 at 6:32 pm

      Thanks Rod!

  116. Richard

    Interesting article Matthew – I am glad you are sorted now.

    I just moved to their professional plan on $99 a month, before reading this. However, that being said, I am over the moon with them at the moment. Granted, my traffic is like a grain of sand to your beach, but I have had only positive experiences with everything – including their support.

    Perhaps it will be a different story if my blog/other sites ever gets any traction or runs into any problems, but for now I will be living by what is happening now and not on ‘perhaps’.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 24th, 2014 at 3:53 pm

      Ask them how many resources they allocate to your site :)

    • lola
      October 8th, 2016 at 5:32 pm


      This is very scary reading and I have just signed up with WPEngine too. I haven’t had a good time since moving over but I’m glad its going well with you. I have had no email service for weeks. They do not supply this and its been hell soring out something else since. How did you manage to get around the email issue if you don’t mind sharing. I would appreciate any imput you can give. Thank you

      • Matthew Woodward
        October 9th, 2016 at 6:14 pm

        You can use something like Google Apps for business

    • lola
      October 8th, 2016 at 5:52 pm


      Jesus!!! I am so sorry that you have experienced all that. Insane.

      I have no idea what to do right now myself. I am stuck and have never felt like this before. I just joined WPE. I haven’t been able to set up emails and have my contact forms working since I am been with them. I know they don’t offer email support but I found this out after I joined up. I just cannot find the right provider that can provide the relevant service using the ports 2525 ports that WPE allow.

      I have to get away but don’t know where to go. I feel that most of these hosting companies are no good but I have never had this type of trouble. They are not monitored and as a result they offer rubbish service. Do you have any advice? Would be appreciated. Thanks

  117. Adithya Shetty

    Hi Matthew,

    This is the first time I’m reading a negative review on WP Engine. Sad to see you’ve to face issues for so many months. As you said, probably rise in customers over the last few years decreased the quality of their support!

    Thanks for sharing this review!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 24th, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      Hope it helps – you should Google around though there a bunch of reviews like this.

  118. Kevin Ohashi


    Wow. I don’t think I’ve seen such a thorough review (at least not in a long time). And my job is reading web hosting reviews.

    It looks like you’ve found a replacement and even did some testing on it too. I’m always happy to see people finding companies they are happy with. Just in case you were still looking around or researching other options, I thought you may find some research I worked on useful http://reviewsignal.com/blog/2014/03/26/managed-wordpress-hosting-showdown-performance-benchmarks/ I was testing a lot of the big WP hosting companies including WPEngine (although not your Traffic Planet). WPEngine didn’t perform great compared to some of the other custom solutions that have popped up. Just thought you might be interested in seeing those results, there are some companies who seem to have the performance component running a lot better (don’t mistake performance benchmarks as full reviews though! We both know there is more to a hosting company than simply performance, like customer support).

    Anyways, good luck and hopefully it’s smoother sailing from here.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 24th, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      Thanks will check it out =D

  119. Tim Aucoin

    Wow! I’ll be sure to avoid WP Engine like the plague. I had a similar experience with Purely Hosting. I paid $100 for an “SEO ready” website but all I got was some piece of crap, cookie-cutter site they obviously spit out for everyone. There was no SEO done and I ended up having to do all of it. And their load times were atrocious and my site would constantly go down. I would email support about it and all they would say is “it looks good to us. Just clear your cache and you should be fine.” I shouldn’t have to keep clearing my cache! But I digress. Thanks for this post Matthew. Cheers.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 25th, 2014 at 6:37 pm

      Sorry to hear, that sounds like an even worse experience than I have had!

  120. Hammad Rafique

    I think it’s time to write an article on this topic too matt “After Wpengine How Traffic Planet Hosting hijacked my Business” Check out the screenshot. I have faced this error 4 times when i visited your blog today at 4PM PST date 25/5/2014. Time to get a VPS dude,, try hoostforweb’s cloud vps server,, they were handling my 36k per day traffic with 0 downtime for 6 months,, i’m monitoring my blogs with my own website monitoring service and get alerts via SMS. You should also use pingdom to monitor yours.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 25th, 2014 at 5:27 pm

      Do you have the screenshot?

    • Terry Kyle
      May 29th, 2014 at 9:35 am

      Thanks Hammad. That was a one-off mysql issue that was quickly fixed. Matt’s experience with us has been very positive and to suggest that we have hijacked his business like WPEngine is pretty unfair.

  121. Matthew Woodward

    There was a few minutes downtime this morning but all looks good at the moment!

    • ijja
      May 25th, 2014 at 11:06 pm

      Yes everything is working, i contact the support team, and they did a great job and took care and resolved the issues.

      • Matthew Woodward
        May 26th, 2014 at 6:02 pm

        Thats what I like to hear :)

    • ijja
      May 26th, 2014 at 10:12 am

      yes everything is working now, the support team took care of the problem

      • Matthew Woodward
        May 26th, 2014 at 5:55 pm

        Awesome :)

  122. Dustin G.

    Damn Matt.. that really sucks. I don’t know how you do it. I would of blew up right away. 7 months is a long ass time. I came over to your blog to look at your post on WP engine because I’ve been thinking of switching my hosting company. Good thing I came at the right time and saw this post lol

    Screw WP engine. Can’t believe they would do such a thing. Like what the hell were they thinking? Really though. Especially to a huge IM blog like this one. Bunch of idiots.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 26th, 2014 at 6:02 pm

      I was allowing them time to fix their problems / hang themselves further so I could write about it. They chose the wrong one :P

      • Dustin G.
        May 26th, 2014 at 6:07 pm

        ahhh I see what your plan was there hahaha

  123. Justin

    Wow, Matt. Just…wow.

    You went to TOWN on WPEngine with this article. I found myself nodding my head several times while reading this, having gone through some of the same finger pointing ourselves.

    We’re currently in the middle of a re-design and we were discussing whether to continue with WPEngine when we launch. We were on the fence, but I’m going to show this post to our team and we likely won’t be continuing with them.

    Another excellent review, Matt – keep it up!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 26th, 2014 at 6:01 pm

      Thanks Justin, sorry to hear you have had the same problems woth them!

  124. Chris Guthrie

    I’ve got several different hosting plans with various companies for various websites and businesses I own with the idea that keeping my eggs in separate hosting baskets helps to mitigate my risk.

    Continuing that line of thinking I started an account with WPEngine earlier this year and recently upgraded to their $99 a month plan with them (I kept my other dedicated server and other hosting plan). After reading this review I’m contemplating moving a website back off WP Engine that I was going to launch a new software product on and back onto my dedicated server.

    I’ve noticed a few of the issues you’ve described such as the connection lost while in a post editor etc. and now I’m worried it’s a sign of worse things to come (especially after reading this review).

    The crappy thing about web hosting is that companies that become successful eventually get bought out (and then almost inevitably they suck).

    So in the end no matter who you’re with now you won’t be with them for life. The very first dedicated server I bought was with SoftLayer way back in 2007 and I’ve had at least one or more dedicated servers since then. I’ve enjoyed a dedicated server experience far more than any other hosting solution but I thought managed WP would be an even brighter future. Perhaps it’s not.

    I ultimately haven’t had enough experience yet with WP Engine to form an opinion other than that I hate how you can’t get yourdomain.com email from WP Engine as well – had to pay for Google Apps for business.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 27th, 2014 at 7:20 pm

      Hi Chris,

      Nice to see you over here :)

      Yeah the concept of managed wordpress hosting is great, just the execution of it so far hasn’t been great (well it was but not now) – interesting your seeing similar issues on a site you haven’t even launched yet and I’m guessing isn’t even getting any traffic.

      My advice would be to move it before launch – seems you have solid experiences elsewhere!

  125. frankaboutcroatia

    Matthew, this is a scary experience. At least you’ve known what was the issue all the time (although it didn’t help you get them solve the problem). I’ve switched hosting recently and was considering WP Engine based on MyTanFeet recommendation. But I went with Websynthesis at the end. So happy now that I made that decision. What’s your opinion on Websynthesis?

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 27th, 2014 at 7:18 pm

      I haven’t used them myself =\

  126. Joseph

    Yea, its hard because were slow too. I actually didn’t know about wpengine until you mentioned something and everyone was saying the same exact thing you was. “holy shit, my site is faster”

    The problem with us – a woo commerce site with a size of 20+GB of files. Most of them are images of course but needless to say I feel it will be nearly impossible to move the site and we’re at the $250 dollar plan. To be honest it seems that wpengine just rents a bunch of servers of of https://www.linode.com anyways. I feel the issue is that they try to maximize the profit for each customer.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 27th, 2014 at 7:16 pm

      20GB isn’t a lot of data to move in this day and age, just takes a bit more time :)

      What makes you think they just linonde? Perhaps worth further investigation

      • Joseph
        May 27th, 2014 at 8:38 pm

        You’re right. Of course but when you can’t ssh into this – tar && bzip then scp to remote server to move it does become a pain in the ass. When the only way you need to get all these images is downloading them one by one with sftp. So yes – I do feel like they are holding us hostage when I cannot even goto phpmyadmin to do a SQL dump because its so big and times-out. “Oh we can’t change the php execution time because its a shared server” – oh screw you. So what do I need to do – create a ticket.

        take a look at this: https://www.linode.com/welcome/ram-offer/ and look at the footer. I don’t think this slowness has anything to do with linode though but entirely that wpengine wants to maximize the profit per shared machine.

        • Matthew Woodward
          May 28th, 2014 at 3:56 pm

          What about the automated backups – they contain a mysql dump in the wp-content folder

          Interesting about Linode, will update the article!

  127. Oliver Worthington

    Great write-up. A very disappointing response from them, especially after a face to face chat with the co-founder. It’s poor form to promise something to someone’s face and just blank them.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 27th, 2014 at 7:10 pm

      Well they are good at talking the talk!

  128. Jon

    Very brave and helpful post Matt – I’m sure the WPEngine board are cringing!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 27th, 2014 at 5:23 pm

      Haha I could have done a lot worse we’ll see what they do!

  129. Damon


    Sometimes its the sale you recover (after it goes pear shaped) rather than the easy sale that gives the most satisfaction. But its clear in this case that your persistence and patience was never going to recover anything. Even though they showed you the door (or in their words… not a good fit)… all you can do in file it away as a bad experience and get on with great content. And … it looks like you scored a better host anyway. Thanks for the post. Damon

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 27th, 2014 at 3:53 pm

      No worrys :) Hopefully things are better with TPH!

  130. Steve

    I had some of the same problems that you had with my hosting provider, Hosting24.com.

    Each time I write to them with a problem, they always come back to me with some generic response!

    99% uptime? Forget it. Downtime happens every freaking day and a few hours at that! And this only for my basic WordPress site with only several posts.

    I think there should be regulator that penalizes these so-called hosting providers. Monitor them and close them down if necessary if they don’t buck up.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 28th, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      Sounds like you need to move away!

      • Steve
        May 29th, 2014 at 2:00 pm

        I did. Keeping my fingers crossed with the new one!

        Thanks Matt. Keep blogging the great stuff!

  131. Chris McCoy

    i was with wpengine, but didnt renew past the 3 month period myself, I do have a server with linode, cheaper than wpengine, im a sys admin myself, so its not hard to maintain/keepup.

    I usally stay away from shared hosting because one person on a server could ruin it for someone else with insecure scripts, etc, but I wanted to give wpengine a go.

    Siteground is another host worth looking at.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 29th, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      I suppose if your happy with Linode that’s all you need!

  132. Tony Nguyen

    Hi Matthew,

    This is Tony, I came to your Wpengine review literally 6 months ago and bought the professional Wpengine Vps hosting (like the one you had).

    I have been getting a lot of downtime without notices & slow customer support. I’m making the move as typing this comment

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming you or anything, I just like to let you know that We’re on the same page and I understand you pain dealing with Wpengine service & support!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 29th, 2014 at 11:00 pm

      Yeah sorry about that, they were awesome when I first started using them but well =/

  133. Robbie

    What other wordpress optimized hosts do people use? I’m looking for someone else. I’ve had enough of WPengine’s games and lies!

  134. Ryan

    Wow! Unreal that everyone here is acting as if your the victim. Does anyone see this racket??

    This is one of the reasons why you can not trust blogs that do affiliate marketing. Matt jumped on board something that looked good and paid big money for him to endorse it, then while he waits 8 months to “fix” this problem with WP Engine, did he stop recommending people to WP Engine? Nope he kept on profiting. from readers.

    Now as WP Engine crashes and burns and leave Matt with only 3 days to get his site on a new site, his buddy Terry save the day, who of course he has looked up to for years. Well if he was so great why didn’t Matt talk to him in the first place and go with someone who you had looked up to for such a long period of time.

    Then the final kicker, all you readers kiss Matt’s ass about how amazing of a post this is (and it was well written) and then click on his NEW affiliate link to all jump on that train and pay him more money.

    No one else going to see this for what it is? Matt FUCKED up and then wants you to jump ship to his new affiliate site, join them and make money.

    I am not saying that Matt planned this to happen. But jesus guys, he isn’t a martyr he fucked up and profited handsomely off of it!

    Good job Matt! I’m unsubscribing.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 29th, 2014 at 6:33 pm


      Actually I was under the impression this was an isolated case rather than a global issue with the company, it was only when I spoke to other people and published this post I saw how wide spread it was.

      Yes I have looked up to Terry for years, ever since he did the forum profile link building case study on WarriorForm, then I was a very active member on his backlinksforum which then turned into the traffic planet forum. Go and take a look at some of my first income reports.

      Do your research before you talk :)

      • Ryan
        May 29th, 2014 at 7:16 pm

        My point is still valid. You made money off the last link, you’ll make money off the new one.

        My point with Terry is if his product was so much better then WP Engine (by close to 20% faster) and you knew him for so long from years ago, why not try him in the beginning….probably cause the affiliate money from WP Engine is better is my guess.

        The fact is your credibility is only as good as the amount of money you get from the affiliate link. Then, when shit hits the fan, jump to a new one.

        Which of course you have a nice new affiliate link for Traffic Planet or whatever it is called.

        • Matthew Woodward
          May 29th, 2014 at 10:58 pm


          Terry only launched the hosting a few months back and we were working on a case study cloning the site over to http://mattwoodwardblogtest.com/ and speed testing it, but then I had to shelve that because moving country took up a bunch more time than I expected.

          Then WPEngine forced my hand and I had no option but to find time & move immediately.

          I will continue to use affiliate links where I can, that’s what affiliate marketing is. The same as poker players play poker and basketball players use basket balls.

  135. Atul

    I can’t believe after all the time you spent being patient and communicating, they terminated your account and charged you the next day. Your experience just sounds unbelievable. At one point, I thought about moving over to WP Engine, but now I know.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 31st, 2014 at 5:27 pm

      Yeah that was rookie

  136. Dan

    I read the full post when you published it and come back to read the comments.
    Fortunately I didn’t move to WPE when you made your first review and I’m still with the Gator (CloudFare improved dramatically the pages speed but the TTFB is still high).

    I ‘know’ Terry for years and I’m quite confident about his integrity.
    When he launched TPH a few months I could not believe such features so I decided to ‘wait and see’.
    The Alexa rank of TPH is still high so I guess he doesn’t have much clients but this should be changing with your post.

    I read somewhere in the post or in the comments that you were using Amazon Cloudfront CDN.
    Doest it mean the CDN is included in TPH so no need to use another one?
    My biz and clients are based in Asia so I would prefer an IP there.

    The only thing for which I am reluctant to move to Terry’s solution for my M websites is his background in the SEO industry. Do you remember the ads here ‘the man who… Mat Cutts’?
    It’s nice to have a SEO expert at the head but you see what I mean…

    mediatemple and siteground look interesting too… I should take my decision shortly.

  137. david

    especially to Ryan, from the above post,

    no matter what commission you get from any affiliate links a subscriber list or site daily traffic of 100-150 thousand people is worth 1000 times more than crappy affiliate payments, its worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, even though Yoast was offered 150 dollars per hosting sign up, he refused because he knew each visitor is probably worth around 10-20 thousand over the customer life cycle,

    just cause you have some link doesn’t mean they can deliberately and on purpose ruin your business, there to lazy and don’t want real customers , i had same problem with https://ventraip.com.au/ in Australia, but they closed the account and stole all my content and files without warning, so now the police are involved and the owner is being charged with theft. Mathew should bill them for the link on his site im sure its worth at least 10k

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 31st, 2014 at 5:24 pm

      Actaully its an affiliate link I take commission on

  138. Viviana

    We moved on trafficplanet recently.
    The support is fast and reliable. Today the server went done for several hours. We hope this will not happen again.

    NOTE: phpSOAP seems not activated by default

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 31st, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      Yeah the entire data centre went out =/

      Just drop them a mail!

  139. Cindy

    My original comment is below. I thankfully copied it to my clipboard before clicking to post since I had been on your page awhile, otherwise it would have been lost… as unfortunately, your website was down. As I tried to comment or reload the page, I kept getting the “Failed to open page” saying the server is down. (Terry, can you speak to this? I was considering up with your company after reading this post… the first time I noticed the site was down tonight was 5:41pm US/Central Time; it was still down an hour later as I updated this draft offline. Not a great first impression, but willing to ask to see if I should move forward anyway, knowing no hosting company is perfect. Thanks.)
    First, just want to chime in with my thanks. I was about to sign-up with WPE (my first shared hosting company) when I launch a new site in June, but while reading their blog yesterday I noticed someone in the comments mentioned you by name as having a bad experience. Entered your name in Google and thankfully I found this comprehensive post and will now find a new provider instead.

    Since finding your site, I’ve spent hours reading your posts, and appreciate the wealth of information. The only thing that didn’t sit well with me as a potential subscriber here is that when you asked WPEngine to refund your affiliates, I thought the next sentence might be you stating that you were asking them to follow your lead as you might be giving your WPE commissions away, perhaps to a charity of your choice, a giveaway, or some creative way to give back the profits made during the time period you were experiencing bad service but your blog continued to recommend their services. With the nature of affiliate marketing it is hard to trust your profiting off them during the entire 8-month ordeal knowing they were not the awesomeness that was published on the blog at that time. Unlike the commenter above, I understand the new affiliate link as you partner with Terry as the nature of marketing and your blog. It’s just at some point during the 8-month period, there reached a point when things were unraveling but you were continuing to profit by recommending a company you knew to be dysfunctional – that is what is a little hard to fully trust as a new reader. I like to give back to bloggers with my click (in this case by clicking on to Terry’s company as thanks for your time and efforts in sparing my making a mistake with WPE), but having some pause given the circumstances. [Update: And now having a lot of pause when I tried to publish this comment but your website server was down for over an hour.]

    All that said, you do have my thanks for helping readers avoid issues with WPE. I am not as tech savvy as you (by a long shot) so such mistakes on their end would be even more difficult for me to manage. I wish you all the best with the new host and I look forward to reading about your experience with them.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 31st, 2014 at 5:12 pm


      Sorry about that but nice to see im not the only person that copies form content before submitting it ‘just in case’ lol The data center had a power failure which led to a bunch of corrupt databases, I have updated the post.

      While I was having problems with them during that period lots of other people didn’t, it really is only since publishing this post it has come to light just how wide spread the problems are. Plus I had truly put my faith into them after speaking to them directly at affiliate summit but you have to give people a chance to investigate and resolve issues before hanging them.

      They just used that chance to hang themselves =/

  140. KJ

    May you should check out server pilot. It will spin up a VPS and install everything you need…And, if you want you can always SSH into your server if you need to.

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 3rd, 2014 at 8:03 pm

      Looks pretty handy thanks!

  141. Karol K

    Somehow I’m not surprised at all… Hosting companies are probably among the most shady kinds of businesses of them all.

    For instance, Host Gator once installed a spam forum on my domain. And they didn’t care to remove it. More info under my name link.

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 5th, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      Looks like your site got hacked rather than an issue with hostgator

      • Karol K
        June 5th, 2014 at 4:51 pm

        Not exactly. Apart from my site, there were 10s of thousands other domains with the exact spam forum on them. Someone breached the servers, not the individual domains, and then placed the forum under https.

        • Matthew Woodward
          June 5th, 2014 at 5:55 pm

          How do you know the breached servers and not a common plugin/wordpress exploit?

          • Karol K
            June 11th, 2014 at 5:15 pm

            As far as I remember, when I searched for similar domains on the web, not all of them run WordPress on the main http protocol (the forum was on https).

            It may be a common exploit, but every infected site I checked was running on Gator.

          • Matthew Woodward
            June 13th, 2014 at 10:45 pm

            But they could be using a common library like timthumb

  142. Gustavo Bordoni

    Hey Matthew,

    Did you ever tried something like Amazon Web Services? I mean if you spend all this time just because of speed, you might want to give a try to have a custom dedicated system to deliver to your clients the best experience possible.

    I talk from experience on that field, I had a server with about 400k unique visitors in peak hours, I mean when I got links on http://globo.com/ to the site I was managing.

    The thing is, the only solution the was able to hold that amount of traffic was AWS with a custom made server.

    I hope you find your golden gun to solve this problem for sure, because no VPS or single machine hosting will do it the way it should be done.

    my Best Regards,

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 13th, 2014 at 10:48 pm


      Yes I’ve used AWS before which requires a whole bunch of technical setup/config/management and when things go wrong there isn’t any level of support other than ‘reimage your server’

  143. Vincent Nguyen

    “When you move your site over to WPEngine they make serious WPEngine specific changes to core WordPress files.

    They don’t tell you what they have changed or which files they have made those changes in.

    But what this means is when you try to move your site away from WPEngine, you are going to have a hard time getting it to work properly on another host.”

    THIS explains why I had issues when I migrated my personal site from WPE to Pagely… The support team kept me in the loop and kept having to remove WPE remnants before my site performed properly. Honestly, I thought it may have been either incompetence on my part during migration or Pagely’s services, but it makes sense now.

    Don’t mean to assume here but too many pieces adding up and the evidence is building. We (EF) have been having speed and hosting issues for a while now. Had a site speed pro “audit” our site as well and he hasn’t had 100% positive things to say about WPE either. Hm…

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 23rd, 2014 at 5:46 pm

      Yeah that sucks, I think it would be helpful to publish a list of what those changes are. I might do something :)

  144. Saba

    Thanks Matthew for this superb article. I took a chance on Traffic Planet Hosting after reading this post. It has been impressive right from the start. Blazing speed, responsive support desk. I took the 5-sites deal. Value for money really. TPH migration was pain-free and no downtime.

    At the same time, I signed up with another hosting company to host my private blog network and non-money sites that I’m building. In contrast – that has been a terrible start. My sites are still down after more than 24 hours as I write this post, still no updates. Their complimentary migration service sucks. I would have done it faster armed with nothing else but BackupBuddy plugin and FTP. Sigh.

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 27th, 2014 at 3:21 pm

      Sorry to hear about that – it is always hard to find reliable, cheap hosts for blog networks =/

  145. Garrett

    Read the entire post, geez that reminds me of some of the hosting nightmares that I’ve dealt with in the past. One hosting company had 3 days of fucking downtime, totally unacceptable.

    What has worked out well for me is learning Linux and the command line and setting up my own servers on vendors I found on LowEndBox. I only run Nginx + PHP FPM instead of Apache. Whatever I do, I cannot get fucking Apache to feel very responsive. Nginx on the other hand is the tits!

    Highly recommend you use a highly rated LowEndBox vendor, Amazon AWS, Linode, Digital Ocean, or something similar. If I ever have any hosting problems I can order a new server, completely set one up from scratch, and transfer my domains in the matter of a few hours (I have 10+ sites).

    Look up the Tuxlite script for setting up web servers. It’s literally idiot proof (I’m a certified idiot and I learned how to use it). Web hosting is so important to an internet marketers business that it really makes sense to just suck it up and learn how to admin your own servers. All I do now is restart my servers every once in awhile, takes 2 minutes. I’ve been setting up my own servers for 2 or 3 years now and feel like web hosting problems are a thing of the past. Highly suggest people reading this to start watching Youtube videos on SSH, linux commands, etc.. Took me a few weeks to really pick it up. I have a server that can handle 10 million visits per day and it’s less than $20/month

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 29th, 2014 at 5:59 pm

      Looks like a cool little script thanks for the advice!

  146. Tom

    Hey man sorry to hear this about a hosting company. I do have to ask, WTF did you wait so long to change host? After their first Fup, I would of sh*t canned their butts. Good luck man wow

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 8th, 2014 at 10:06 pm

      I’m pretty patient with things and sometimes there are teething problems, then I thought the CEO had control of it and time went on =/

  147. Mike

    I’ve read a number of items that compare the Synthesis WordPress hosting platform to WPEngine (in a positive way) regarding performance.

    WebSynthesis is run by the CopyBlogger people. Just curious if you (or anyone else here) have had any experience with them.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 9th, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      I haven’t tried them personally!

  148. Matthew Woodward

    I will write a post about it this month :)

  149. KC

    Have you had any additional downtime with TPH since your last update? I cant afford any downtime on my sites so would be interested to hear if you still recommend them….thanks!

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 16th, 2014 at 5:14 pm

      If you literally cannot afford any downtime you need to invest a solid 4-5 figures per month in a serious managed host like rackspace with fail overs etc

  150. Aaron Jones

    WOW! I actually read through this entire post. It’s a damn good thing I did! I was getting ready to purchase a business plan for $249 a month to host some of my sites. Thanks for this honest write up. I’ll look elsewhere now.


    • Matthew Woodward
      July 22nd, 2014 at 9:36 pm

      No worrys :)

      • Aaron Jones
        July 23rd, 2014 at 2:32 am

        I was curious to your thoughts on dedicated servers. As mentioned, I almost pulled the plug and invested $250 a month for WPEngine to host only two of my niche sites. (I was still talking to the sales rep as I read this post.) They told me if I added a third it would run $600.00 a month due to website traffic. (The first two sites was going to be a test before adding more of my sites.) Now again, I will admit reading your post probably saved me a fortune. I would lose a ton of money if my experiences turned out like yours. Again, thank you. With that being said, I’m thinking of going with dedicated servers instead. I’m getting ready to launch my own product and I know the traffic will increase to the servers I’m already using (shared hosting). This is why I’m on the prowl for new solutions as I do not want to do a product launch only to have servers crash or end up with individuals not knowing WordPress :P. Your thoughts on dedicated servers? The good, bad and ugly.

        Thanks again,

        • Matthew Woodward
          July 23rd, 2014 at 4:16 pm

          Hi Aaron,

          Dedicated servers are well, dedicated so you avoid a lot of the problems of shared hosting. However you are fully in charge of managing/maintaining/fixing any problems that came up.

          Although there are comments on this post that have alluded to some simple solutions with that!

  151. John Overall

    Great Post Matthew, well documented to show the issues. I have a client who wanted to use them about a year ago. When he signed up for their service I checked them out and found that you are so limited in what is allowed that running his site was not possible on their platform. Plus their promised support and speed where not up to the hype at the time.

    Glad to see someone document and spread the word about poor support ect.. This I am sure this has and still is costing them clients since I only found this article today 3 months after it was posted. I don’t imagine they have done anything to address the issues you raised for any of their clients still with them ..

    Will continue to spread this news..

    John Overall
    WP Plugins A to Z

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 23rd, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      Hi John,

      Sorry to hear you had a poor experience with them as well :(

  152. Chris

    Was getting ready to fire off a nasty email to WPengine and then I found this post. Figured it be a waste of time. The one thing that pissed me off the most was the way they count “visitors”. It’s not explained on their home page the “bots” are part of the count. Classic Bait-and-Switch if you ask me. Someone needs to start a class action lawsuit. I’m sure that will get there attention. I just don’t have time (or money) to fight WPengine.

    So, I moved on (after only with them for 3 days). I signed up with TPH last night. Had a few questions and to my surprise they were answered (in less then 15 minutes) before I went to bed (1 a.m. Eastern). I woke up this morning (8 a.m.) and found my site had already been migrated! In fact, it was done in a couple of hours. Just waiting for the site to propagate. WPengine took me 5 days to get it migrated.

    Again, new questions this morning for TPH. Again, answered in less then 15 minutes! Hope this is how they continue to run their business during the “growing” years.

    Also, I’m wondering why TPH doesn’t point out the “visitor” count as a benefit? I have very few visitors per month at the moment. On Statcounter.com, I had a total of 1 visitor in 3 days. However, per WPengine I had 178!!! Anyways, I’m looking forward to seeing my site on TPH.

    Thanks for the info Matt!

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 24th, 2014 at 8:02 pm

      Hi Chris,

      Sorry to hear about your problems with WPEngine but at least you have it all dealt with now and you see why I am trusting TrafficPlanetHosting with my site!

  153. Nick Loper

    Wow I didn’t have quite the same issues you did w/ WP Engine, but was still left frustrated by some of their systems.

    The biggest issue was the extra charges for excessive traffic — and I’ll echo what others have said: if they’re targeting a non-technical client-base, our only understanding of “traffic” is what Google Analytics shows us. So when we see 25,000 visits are included, and we have less than that every month in GA, we understand we’re good to go.

    Then we get sticker shock when they report a figure 4x higher and charge you for it.

    Their support team was generally good to me — did not have the same issues as you — but in one instance they recommended a plugin that actually rendered the site inaccessible to everyone who wasn’t logged in. Thankfully some people emailed and tweeted me up about it pretty quickly.

    I just made the transition to TPH last week (w/ your affiliate link so hopefully you get credit for that). Thanks again for the detailed post and recommending an alternative. Will keep an eye on the performance numbers and see how it goes the next few weeks!

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 28th, 2014 at 1:37 pm


      Yeah the traffic thing is a problem and immediately call’s them into question as a new customer! Not sure why they cap it on visits, seems daft to me!

      Let me know how you get on with TPH will be interesting to hear your feedback!

  154. Anon Visitor

    Great and thorough article. I think anyone who drinks the marketing koolaid that WP Engine did initially should read thru all the negative reviews as well. I fell for it a while back as well.

    My biggest complaints – tech support. Its spotty, sometimes they respond quickly, sometimes it takes forever. My questions were always answered with links to the FAQs or whatever, which if the support had actually read my question, would realize its not something listed in any of those docs, and I am not that tech retarded – so bullshit there.

    Second – their pricing is ridiculous. Its pretty obvious they nickel and dime on bandwidth and only want to host sites that get very little traffic. They have no pricing structure that grows, its either some low use fixed priced or, shudders, sell your newborn child to pay for the month if you get a slightly modest traffic hit which, as you stated, most budget shared hosts seem to handle no problem.

    Overall, beware of drinking the WP Engine koolaid. I suspect the company experienced very fast growth and was not internally setup to handle it, nor did they know how to manage it properly and are experiencing some kind of company implosion. I’ve seen and worked with companies where this same thing happened and it smells of this.

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 19th, 2014 at 5:42 pm

      Sorry to hear your bad experience :(

  155. Andres

    A couple of days ago I was chatting with sales at WPengine. I was negotiating prices and when I asked for better pricing, they told me this:

    “If you just want to save a few bucks you shouldn´t be here”

    Talking about customer service? ha ha…this guys are a joke!

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 21st, 2014 at 8:14 pm

      You should have replied with a link to this post :)

      • Andres
        August 21st, 2014 at 8:54 pm

        LOL…The incident happened before I read this post.

        Unfortunately :)

        • Matthew Woodward
          August 21st, 2014 at 8:58 pm

          Awwww lol

    • Carl Hancock
      September 5th, 2014 at 9:31 pm

      I agree that the response could have been delivered better but what exactly were you expecting? Why do you assume a web host is going to negotiate pricing with you? Will Amazon negotiate AWS pricing with you? Will Apple negotiate iCloud pricing with you? I’m the co-founder of a highly successful product and our pricing is what it is, it’s not a negotiation. That is how most web hosts, SaaS and online services work.

  156. Sean Daily

    I appreciate the time it took to write this post, even though I can’t help but noticed that it ultimately does end up leading to another monetary opportunity for the author that could end up the same way for people following the new advice. I can support that, though it has to be taken into account because when one is being paid for anything one can never truly be objective, no matter what your intentions [Also, for the record, I love Terry Kyle’s stuff and have been his customer a few times in the past. Top notch guy, but know nothing of his hosting and will leave the vetting of that to other who enjoy being on the front lines lol]

    Really, all of this is just life in the economic cycle and “character arc” of any successful business, hosting or otherwise.

    Map your experiences with any band you’ve ever liked, or girlfriend you had that turned into your wife later (or perhaps didn’t). Goes something like this:

    Phase 1:
    Host: “Man these guys are awesome. They have it all going on… speed, convenience, customer service, value pricing.. i have finally found Nirvana and they are the one… I am so lucky!”
    G/F: “Man this girl is smoking hot. She has it all going on.. body that won’t quit, smart, not psycho, can hang with the guys, lets me play golf.. I have finally found chick Nirvana..she is the one I am so lucky!”
    Band: “These guys are freaking awesome. Awesome guitars, great drummer, unique musical style, intelligent lyrics. So cool that I know about them and no one else does.. I found my ultimate band with whom I can associate myself fully!”

    Phase 2:
    Host: “Hmm these guys seem to have some serious flaws. Customer service guys are deleting my data and changing IP addresses without telling me. Tons of downtime lately and my customers are pissed. Seems like everyone and their brother is moving to this host now and the cat’s out of the bag. Maybe it’s just a phase, not gonna stress on it”
    G/F: “Hmm this chick is kinda psycho sometimes. Wants to hang out all the time and freaks if I don’t call her for like 12 hrs. Not getting friend time like I used to w/the guys. Ah well, probably just a phase, not gonna stress on it.”
    Band: “Hmm this second album sucks donkey balls. And now everyone knows about them and they seem to be selling out.. not special when I go to see them anymore. What the hell happened to my band? Meh, probably just a sophomore struggle and a phase, gonna keep listening to it and can’t wait for the next album when they get back to their roots”

    Phase 3:
    Host: “F_ck this s_it I cannot even run my business anymore. People are freaking out and I am losing money. Customer service doesn’t seem to give a crap and I don’t even recognize these guys anymore. I am f_cking outta here.”
    G/F: “F_ck this s_it I don’t even have a life anymore. Haven’t had a beer with the guys or played golf in 6 months.. My friends have given up on me and this girl is clearly psycho. Now she wants to move in together and get married, and I’m ready to chew my own arm off to get away from her”
    Band: “F_ck this band they suck. This 3rd album is even worst than the 2nd. WTF is a pan flute doing on a rock band’s album anyway?? Can’t even get an overpriced ticket to one of their shows as they’re sold out and every 12 year old is humming the lately craptastic tune from this album.”

    Phase 4: “I’m F_cking outta here!”

    Phase 5: “Whoa, that new girl/band/host is looking freaking hot/sounding freaking rad/looking freaking perfect..” (insert repeat of cycle here)

    Anyhow, point being is that IF your hosting company is good, and they have aspirations of financial success, there is a great chance they will follow the VC money / slaves to money / screw the customers cycle that is the death of good quality everywhere. Precious few companies even maintain the “nirvana” state for more than a year or two. I’m not excusing it because it’s always lame and unacceptable and pisses me off, but then again so does the fact that people I love die and my tax bill every year. Some things are just realities of life.

    It’s hard not to get attached to the awesome years (or months), but it’s probably a better idea to grow up and realize that you’re going to be going through the same growing pains with a host you will with your own biz, your g/f, your wife, your fav band, or any other entity. Sometimes you’ll work it out in the end, sometimes you won’t. Sometimes you’ll get divorced, sometimes you’ll go through therapy together and have the strongest relationship you ever dreamed of and be happy.

    Trick is knowing when to cut bait and fish. Just don’t deceive yourself that the good times are going to last. key thing with hosts and chicks is having good communication to work out the issues, and hopefully some giving of a s_it on their part to work it out. [Btw your band doesn’t give a shit about you and if you try to communicate with them they’ll probably just laugh at you or consider you a stalker ;-)]

    Oh btw, for full disclosure purposes, I am a 14 month WPEngine customer with a dedicated $500/month account and over 100 sites hosted on their platform. I have twice had total meltdowns with them, both of which involved ridiculous downtime, some annoyances with having our IPs changed without warning and having to edit like 100 DNS zone files to resolve issues, and black eyes with some of my affected customers. In one case I found out they were sharing my supposedly dedicated server for 5 months with other customers! However, they admitted the problem when they found it, and refunded a huge amount of money to me.. I think it was $1500 to $2000 refunded. So, they kept me as a customer.

    I’ve noticed the downturn in the average skill of a support person but honestly most of the time our s_it just works and works well, which is ABOVE ALL what I want and need from a hosting relationship because I simply don’t have the time to deal with hosting problems.

    Yes, I pay a lot of money for their service. And frankly, if I didn’t and had a $99/mo account, my guess is I probably wouldn’t be as happy and may not even be with them any more. But yes, I am also happy with them (for now). However, I hear their 3rd album is coming out.. and they’re telling me it might be better for me not to play so much golf during the week.. so I’m also really nervous ;-)

    PS. For those particularly interested in the finding of a non psycho marriage quality woman, this is required watching: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKWmFWRVLlU

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 26th, 2014 at 5:44 pm

      Hi Sean,

      Yes I agree any service that anyone recommends can always go downhill. Although I wasn’t paid to do that – Terry Kyle literally came to my rescue on a weekend.

      I like how you break that down with the different scenarios haha you could turn that into a blog post =D

      If there is anything I have learnt about hosting, finding a reliable one that stands the test of time is tough, very tough.

  157. Blaine Smitley

    I’m blown away.

    I was just discussing wpengine with someone and was entertaining the idea of signing up with them to host a new site I’m going to be launching soon.

    I’m glad I googled till I found this!

    I’ll be bouncing on over to Terry Kyles place now :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 8th, 2014 at 11:44 pm

      Ahhh well, glad to be of service :)

  158. Anuar Ismail

    I just signup with TPH, after complete all the payment can’t access to my Dashboard. After gain back the access its damm slow and keep stated unable to connect. Ha ha ha they unable to managed their own website, how I expect they can handle my website

    I was on WPEngine never had this problem for last two years. Wanted to try after reading this articles. I guest your articles and comment is not reliable at all.

    Still unable to access my dashboard after completed writing this comment. Its totally not good for those depending with website to earn money and support the family.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2014 at 6:32 pm


      Have you spoken to support/terry directly?

    • Terry Kyle
      September 10th, 2014 at 6:44 pm

      Have you raised a ticket Anuar with our 24/7 support team? Don’t see any ticket on this issue.

    • Terry Kyle
      September 10th, 2014 at 6:49 pm

      Anuar, your admin panel and website are loading perfectly right now with this Pingdom Tools score: http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/#!/cRmqbm/http://www.wegowithanuar.com/ (Faster than 93% of sites tested on Pingdom and a 90 Performance Grade there).

    • Anuar Ismail
      September 12th, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      [Update 12 Sept, 2014]
      After bad first impression experienced, I almost hit Request Cancellation Button on my Dashboard but decided to give a try.
      Migrating Experience – super easy and efficient compare with WPEngine. All done by Traffic Planet Hosting support staff.

      Testing Traffic Planet Hosting support staff question regarding SSL and CDN. SURPRISING….
      1. They reply all the answer less in one hour.
      2. TPH support staff recommended the priority step to setup SSL and CDN
      2. They willing to help me setup my WordPress with SSL and CDN (bonus point that I don’t get from my previous hosting. I been forced to buy CDN service from them that much more expensive, upgrade my plan and get a specific SSL certificate. TPH staff personally recommended a good and cheap certificate that works.
      3. SSL installation was done less than 45 minutes from the point I purchased the license, provide CRS request code, install the license. I like to do it in Malaysia time to make sure they really 24 hours on standby.
      4. SSl install problem and troubleshoot done in 30 minutes.

      The Verdict:
      If you have very less skill about WordPress technical issue, I really recommended try Traffic Planet Hosting. Their have superb support staff that willing to help in very short time.
      Surprising my WordPress ranking have some immediately improvement after move to TPH. Not sure the main cause of significant improvement of ranking. I believed because……. read again my comment you will get the hint :-)

      • Matthew Woodward
        September 12th, 2014 at 4:47 pm

        And thats why I <3 Terry Kyle & his team (shout out to George)!

  159. Jarkko

    Trafficplanethosting.com – Outstanding service!! I highly recommend. Thank You!

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 11th, 2014 at 8:06 pm

      No worrys :)

  160. Mira

    Hey Matt,

    Sorry if it has already been asked, but where did you migrate to?

    Do you have a WP managed host you recommend now?

    Thanks for any insight.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 22nd, 2014 at 6:53 pm

      I guess you should read the post :)

      • Mira
        September 23rd, 2014 at 12:18 am

        lol I did! A few times. Will slow my scanning down and try again.

  161. Tim

    Hi Matthew,

    I was looking for a fast host and after your recommendation i went with trafficplanethosting

    Everything great,speed,support etc.

    However i am noticing my site to be very slow everyday now about 1h+ around 8 to 9 PM ET.

    On average my landing pages load in max 2 sec but during this time it takes up to 40 sec for a simple landing page to load.

    Do you have any related issue?
    Any suggestion??

    I was happy with traficplanet hosting ,however with this slow down i can’t continue because i send paid traffic to my landing pages and i see visitors leaving quickly during the slow down.

    Oh ,another thing to mention , i talked to their live support about this issue and they replied with irony that i am the first person to have problem with their site speed and after 2 messages ,they didn’t respond anymore.

  162. Feng

    Following are some cons that I experienced with WPengine
    I am pretty experience in WordPress, and have tons of experience on Hosting companies… wpengine is just not right hosting company for experience users.

    – slow ftp upload speed (i am using 11mbps internet upload speed ISP, so i know)
    – site migration (nightmare and confusing)
    – not 24/7 customer support
    – limited control and options in dashboard.
    – display their ads on people ‘s website without permission…

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 14th, 2014 at 10:41 pm

      Yeah the FTP was terrible for me as well, I guess that is partially down to SFTP

  163. Uri

    Hi Matt,

    It seems you can add “Scummy host” to your list…

    i’m one of their victims, check it out its unbelievable


    • Matthew Woodward
      October 14th, 2014 at 10:41 pm

      Looks like they continue to take a tanking!

  164. George

    Matthew thank you for sharing your experience with WPEngine. I found your blog article from WHT https://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=1416967 and found the article an eye opener as I always had the impression from the outside that WPEngine were at the top of their game.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 8th, 2014 at 2:54 pm

      No worrys – yeah they look very professional, but my experience is very different

  165. WordPress Developer

    I was considering employment with WP Engine until I read this post. Thank you very much for sharing your experience!

  166. Sean

    Matt, I’m really glad I found this post as I have been looking into WPEngine to host an ecommerce site I’ve been working on.

    Thanks for providing such an in-depth report on the problems you had and thereby saving myself and doubtlessly many other people a whole sh*tstorm of problems.

    I’m now looking into Amazon EC2 or even Linode cloud hosting.

    Best regards from sunny Thailand :-)


    • Matthew Woodward
      October 17th, 2014 at 3:27 pm

      No worrys good luck finding a home for your project!

  167. Nikolas Nikolaou

    Thanks Matthew for the detailed review , I have had the exact same problems. Today was the last straw as I had random https/http duplicate content issues with WPEngine. Random server changes f*** up.

    Im currently working with the trafficplanethosting team to move all my sites. Thanks again

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 29th, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      Sorry to hear that, the TPH guys will look after you though :)

      • Nikolas Nikolaou
        October 31st, 2014 at 6:35 pm

        I think you should update the article slightly Matthew. I have fully moved but sadly are going to lose 2160 links from forums and websites hotlinking to the image on the CDN wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/ they cant do anything about that as they say “You are not a hosted customer anymore so we can’t do anything about it”. They said it will return a 404 error ofcourse with links pointing to their website. :(

        • Matthew Woodward
          November 1st, 2014 at 10:06 pm

          Yes that is true but they could fix it with a redirect if they wanted to

  168. Zack

    Thanks a ton for taking the time to write all this and detail your journey of pain. :)

    I’m currently looking for new hosting for my clients who use WordPress and it’s a challenge as the landscape is forever shifting. Of course, that’s par for the course, but still; whew!

    As an aside, I was taking a look at the TPH folks as an alternative and they look great. I also noticed that it looks like you’ve switched your hosting over to Steadfast in Chicago. Did you finally end up getting a dedicated server? How are the folks at Steadfast? Your site certainly loads fast (GTMEtrix gives you an A for page speed, grats! :) )

    Thanks again for all taking the 16+ hours to write this post!

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 30th, 2014 at 2:32 pm


      I’m still with TrafficPlanetHosting :)

  169. Saad Durrani

    WHOA! It is a sad thing that WPEngine is “pretending” about infrastructure. I work for a hosting platform and we put it in bold words that we are using Amazon and DigitalOcean for our services.

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 1st, 2014 at 7:38 pm

      I think it would strengthen their offering if they said so

  170. Tony

    Maximizing the profit for the shareholders, greed, that is the main cause of the problem. We experience this in every part of our daily lives these days. Consolidation of companies, price matching cause once good companies to go down the toilet. They either get bought by larger companies or go bankrupt.

    Unfortunately it pushes us to the big players like Amazon. At least their service level is something which is predictable. Of course it is much more technical to have a good WordPress setup especially on their (first year free) micro instances but at least you are the captain of your boat. I’ve published my own configuration of how I use Amazon at http://purdox.com maybe it will help you in your future projects.


    • Matthew Woodward
      November 2nd, 2014 at 3:02 pm

      Handy link thank you :)

  171. Aliya King

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, Matthew!

    It took 2 hours for me to read your posting. Didn’t want to miss a word. Kekeke. I would not read yours if you didn’t attach any proofs, yeah it could be business competitors of affiliate business things.

    I am new blogger with a big zero about hosting, coding, etc. So, I am using wordpress.com but planning to have a self hosting soon. I am looking for the managed wordpress hosting for days already. Your article really help me.

    Before I finished to read the comments, I started a chat with the live support of TPH. Awesome. Fast response and patient (since I said in my way about my need and problems, not using the MySQL or PHP language!)

    The great thing is they will do much technical things for me without any additional fee. Another one is they only sell domain and wordpress hosting. No shared hosting, no VPS. It make me think:
    “Great! They will really watch my website!”
    “They are not business oriented guys!”
    “They are absolutely expert on wordpress since they focus on it!”

    After finished with the THP, I backed to your blog, read all the comments. Aaand find that you still using THP! It’s really assure me. Hahaha.

    I am planning to move to THP next month!
    Thanks again!

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 10th, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      Hahaha great to hear you are having a positive experience with them – I will stay with them for a long time to come :)

  172. Erik

    Hey Matt

    Good post. Very detailed with the hardware and getting to the root of the problem. I checked pcmag for the best web hosting services and bluehost is a top ten host for 5.99 a month. Go daddy is also a top 10 host with the same ratings and goes for 2.99 a month. Which one is better to start out with? Also down the road is it easy to switch hosting? Are there things I should know now for later if I switch?

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 10th, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      You can go with either of those, I tend to launch new sites with Justhost then move them later if needs be which is easy to do.

  173. Dave

    Hi Matthew,

    I just wanted to say thank you for your post. I’m on the lookout for a new hosting service and was on the brink of signing up with these guys. Luckily I decided to do a bit of due diligence and look through some reviews. Your post was the first I read – it looks like you’ve helped me dodge a bullet.

    Thanks again!

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 21st, 2015 at 5:09 pm

      No problem at all!

  174. Urdudu

    Hi Matthew,

    Thank you for the review!! This review did it. You saved me from spending more money, time and hassle with these guys. I am truly grateful. I have given WPEngine a try as per certain recommendation but now, I will be migrating. I do not know what they do in manipulating data or functions (or else) but it certainly destroyed some AJAX functions of a theme. I tested out the theme on a low-cost test server and it is absolutely fine, working as designed without a hassle. Funny thing is, the imported data from WPEngine caused the same issue on the test server, initially, until I erased them all. Of course, the tech support didn’t help much as they blamed it on theme even after showing them a live working sample. Now, after reading your post I am certain that it had something to do with WPEngine. Very glad I found your site, and thank you again.

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 2nd, 2015 at 3:24 pm

      No problem sorry to hear you had similar problems

  175. Rachel

    Funnily enough, I came across this post by Googling “wp engine infrastructure,” which probably goes to show how unavailable they make actual tech specs about their servers. I’m currently researching various managed WordPress hosting companies for work and had been leaning toward recommending WP Engine to my supervisor, until I read this post and one other sharing a horrible experience (which came up in the same search, hah). Thank you for sharing!

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 8th, 2015 at 11:47 am

      Glad it helped you out!

  176. Fedor

    Thanks man. It’s very helpful. I have exactly same experience with WPengine and spent a lot of time on searching for other WP hosting companies. Thanks for the recommendation, I’m migrating my site to Traffic Planet now ;)

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 11th, 2015 at 9:56 am

      Sorry to hear that hope you work things out!

  177. JC

    Wow. I just spent forever reading this. I would never mess with you. All this stuff is Chinese to me, and yet I’m one of those annoying people who have to crosscheck and research everything before I buy. You are like the Kung Fu of the internet world. Everyone duck. Anyway, all I have are some articles written and a style of a template I want to use. The only thing I’ve bought is the domain through HellDaddy. Don’t hate… I’m an old school Wix user, done tons of those drag and drop websites for people, which requires no skill, and finally stepping into 2015. I want to go with a host you recommend. Do you think the trafficplanet is too detailed and advanced for a dummy like me? God help me. Can you point me in the right direction for someone with not a fraction of your knowledge? I’m such a beginner that even beginners would laugh. I’m in sales and marketing, and have all the creativity and ideas I need to make a go of a blog. I just don’t have the tech knowledge. Do I need it if I’m just starting out? Be gentle, eh? :)

  178. Brendan McCoy

    I came across the review when starting to evaluate dedicated WP hosting plans for a UK site. The detailed analysis is much appreciated!

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 2nd, 2015 at 3:32 pm

      No problem at all :)

  179. rob smart

    Thanks for a great intensive review..saved me joining up !! I did find out that they pay minimum 200 dollars for each new customer to their affiliates..hence they are growing by false recommendations..

    so looking for somebody else to host my new web site ..which will be in wordpress..

    thanks again..

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 12th, 2015 at 8:35 am

      Yup and they are hedging their bets with that kind of payout. I’m using TrafficPlanetHosting right now.

  180. siddardha

    Hello Matthew,

    Thanks to your deeetailed post, now Trafic planet is the top in my referral list.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 17th, 2015 at 8:48 am

      Awesome to hear :)

  181. Steve

    Not just us then, good to know :)

    Apart from not getting critical updates in a timely fashion (>3 weeks!) their IPs are blacklisted with SpamRats, causing our emails to get flagged as Spam even when they’re sent through a different service.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 17th, 2015 at 8:43 am

      Sorry to hear that, I guess they haven’t really gotten any better =/

  182. Ronsonite

    Good read, MW!

    It sounds WPEngine got funding to grow and had to do some hasty short term hires to meet support demands. In my experience, all web hosting support are trained to not accept blame and try to divert blame elsewhere (there’s simply no professional benefit to openly admitting fault). Most customers aren’t as knowledgable as you, so they buy the reasoning and stay on. I’m sure WPEngine will eventually get back on top of things or maybe they are on top today. Afterall, it’s not easy training a person to be sound with WP, because it entails knowledge of WP itself, LAMP, plugins/3rd party items, htaccess, security/malware, etc.

    So what company did you migrate your webhosting to?

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 19th, 2015 at 9:11 am

      Yeah and the head honcho jumped shipped at that point I believe as well.

      The professional benefit to admitting fault is your customers trust you and don’t publish things like this.

      I’m with TrafficPlanetHosting

    • Dave
      April 23rd, 2015 at 1:46 pm

      Yeh I’d agree with this. I think you nailed it when you said they got way too big, too fast and tried to cover it up. When you’re hosting thousands of sites, you can’t give each one personalized attention so they give canned answers. When I first heard of them, I looked at their offerings and came across their list of disallowed plugins, I knew they would be a bad fit—at least for me and my clients.

      As someone who builds and hosts websites for clients, I can see fault on both sides here—but more so with WP Engine—for stringing the client along for so long. Matthew gave them ample time to make good, which is more than I would have given them if been in the same situation.

      Every website usually has some unique requirements. It’s good to hear that TPH understands that. It seems to me they fit the mold of what he’s looking for—a “semi-managed” host for someone just enough to be dangerous. That’s more or less what I do with my clients—we take care of their hosting and CMS updates so they don’t have to. If the site gets slow, we look at caching pieces here and there. If you have a lot of dynamic content, it’s harder (read more expensive) to stay fast when you have a lot of traffic—that’s just the nature of the web—but it is possible. There’s no way WPE can take into account every variable and every plugin so they lock it down, like any shared host would do but that flies in the face of what WP is capable.

      I find it really interesting they’re allowing (and even parsing?) .htaccess files. Allowing .htaccess files in a server config are performance killers, especially for what you were doing it it. The www vs non code needs to go in the server block, not .htaccess; even shared hosts have that as an option in the control panel and that’s not something you want to be doing in .htaccess. So WPE wasn’t really wrong for suggesting it but they really didn’t go into detail about why.

      TBH I thought Apache wasn’t even in the mix at WPEngine but it must be in some way if that redirect was working for you. I know they run nginx which doesn’t even use .htaccess files so they must be proxying back Apache. Hard to say but it sounds like their caching layer wasn’t really working for whatever reason.

  183. Holly

    I’m looking into Traffic Planet. Bulgaria based support chat and email only. That’s a deal breaker for me, I think…

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 27th, 2015 at 3:05 am

      The support is 24 hours a day and always quick to respond and I have them all on Skype as well

  184. Ron

    So I moved my site from Hostgator to WP Engine yesterday and so far I have not seen any speed improvements at all. I was 79/100 speed on Google PageSpeed Insight and now I am around 75/100 on WP Engine. Nothing has changed on my site or plugins. I actually have less plugins when I moved to WP Engine. I talked to their live chat support and he suggested that I add a plugin to help improvement. I asked him why should I add something when WP Engine advertises that they are fastest and charges more for it? Shouldn’t be an improvement without changing anything? If I wanted to add something I would add it on Hostgator and pay less. Funny thing is, the chat window somehow magically crashed. I have been with their chat for last 2 days and it never crashed before but this time when I pushed the guy, it did.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 26th, 2015 at 8:14 am

      Hi Ron,

      This is purely down to your misunderstanding of what the Google Pagespeed tool actually does vs what WPEngine actuall does.

      The Pagespeed tool purely looks at your site, how it is coded, whether it has the right standards to be ‘fast’ – it has next to nothing to do with your host and is 98% down to your theme and the plugins you use.

      For example you could have 100/100 pagespeed score, but if its hosted on a junky server with lots of sites on a crappy internet connection – it will still take 60 seconds to load.

      Equally if a site has 0/100 pagespeed score but is hosted on a super mega wow wow fast server – it could load in less than a second.

  185. Steven Davids

    I just moved both of my sites, http://sitehostingoptions.com and http://tipsmakemoney.com to WPEngine hosting. I upgraded from shared GoDaddy hosting and I had to practically hold onto my desk because my sites were so fast. That combined with the built in CDN, $99 a month is pretty worth it in my opinion!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 26th, 2015 at 7:46 am

      Yup – you have the exact same experience as every other person that moves to WPEngine. Give it time :)

      $99 for shared hosting is ridicolous.

    • Chris
      July 26th, 2016 at 1:23 pm

      I’ve used WPEngine for years and absolutely love it. Never a single issue.

  186. Edvard

    Thanks for the reviews!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 27th, 2015 at 2:59 am

      No problem :)

  187. John B

    After being so tired of running my own dedicated server because of the increase of hacking, especially on WordPress sites – I am moving all my new website clients to WP Engine. Read your post ages ago, and it looks like you really have had a terrible time with them.

    So far, I have nothing but praise for WP Engine. A company that I really respect, WP Curve, who offer quick support for WordPress problems, highly recommended them, so I gave them a try. WP Engine’s support has been exceptional… have had probably a couple of dozen phone calls to them over the last few months, and every time they have stuck with me until my issues are resolved – it has been a breath of fresh air!

    One great thing is that I don’t have to worry about security. Previously I was using WordFence, until 20 of my sites running got hacked, even though they all had WordFence. Running iThemes Security helped, but there was still the threat of DDOS. Anyhow – I don’t worry about any of that now, and because WP Engine take daily backups, I could do a one-click restore to many restore points in the past.

    The only question mark I have at the moment is sending emails from my WordPress site. They are fine if I only have like 100 emails per day, but I may run in to trouble if a site needs a higher volume than that. Perhaps I’ll just use an SMTP plugin in that case, as most of my clients have average web traffic.

    Anyhow – just thought I’d write about my experience so far!! As I see you mentioned above… give them time. We’ll see how it goes!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 27th, 2015 at 2:52 am

      Great to see hear and yes you are right about the problems of running your own dedicated server although WordPress is vulnerable in most environments. I assume you didn’t have a fully managed dedicated server?

      With your emails you can look at someone like postmark for example who have a WordPress plugin.

  188. Jason Weber

    Hey Matt.

    Thank you for writing this post. Although it’s a year later, may I ask if you still stand by things written in this post, or do you know if things have changed?

    I’m currently looking to move my nonprofit organization to a better host — better than the current BlueHost VPS setup I have going right now.

    Do you still recommend TrafficPlanning Hosting over WP Engine and Synthesis?

    Are YOU still hosting with TrafficPlanning?

    I’m less concerned about comments and al that, and more concerned with just better speed. All my sites are WordPress (including my nonprofit), and I’m quite experienced at how to handle on-page things and site speed.

    All of my sites are A-ranked (90%+) in just about every speed testing tool imaginable, but the page load times always add 2-4 seconds to the total time. So pages that should load in 1.5-2.5 seconds take 4-7 seconds to load, due to that server response time / first byte.

    All of my sites (7 of ’em) run on Genesis and a Genesis child theme.

    If you’re still following this post, any updates on what you’re doing would be greatly appreciated!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 28th, 2015 at 6:56 am

      Yes the site is still running on TPH with nearly 60 plugins, have a browse around and you can get a feel for how it performs yourself rather than relying on opinion.

      While I can’t speak from personal experience on how WPEngine perform right now, what I can tell you is I get endless streams of people approaching me at conferences sharing the same frustrations.

      • Jason Weber
        April 28th, 2015 at 1:05 pm

        Thanks Matt! I’m ditching BlueHost and their VPS after this latest 49 hour blackout (they said they “forgot to turn your server back on after the interruption” verbatim).

        I’ve narrowed my hosting preferences down to PowerUp (probably not), and either TPH or SiteGround GoGeek (shared plan).

        I guess I’ll just have to heuristically determine which is best for my nonprofit organization’s multisite installation, although I surely don’t want to get in the habit of host-jumping every month or two.

        Thanks again!

      • Jason Weber
        April 28th, 2015 at 1:06 pm

        And Best of British, mate!

  189. Virtualtopia

    I was going to sign up for them just now.
    Lucky for me, I found this site.
    I use to be with Hostgator till they got bought out by EIG.
    I then tried out Westhost which was better, but still not really good enough.
    That is when I decided to use WP-Engine. I had heard good things about them in the past, but their price was a bit steep for me at the time. Then I decided to shell out the extra cash to get better server performance.

    Thanks again for documenting this. I am looking into Traffic Planet instead.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 28th, 2015 at 6:54 am

      No problem I hope you find a good home for your sites :) This blog is still with TrafficPlanet to give you an idea on performance (and I have nearly 60 plugins running)

  190. Chris

    Hi Matt. Great post. I have a reseller account at hostgator with a lot of sites, but I was starting to get paranoid with everyone saying I could experience problems. I haven’t had any so far, but as I start getting more and more traffic, I don’t even want to test how safe it is! People were recommending Digital Ocean, but not being a developer, I looked over the site and didn’t understand 25% of the terminology! So I was going to switch to WP-Engine and found this page. You saved me a lot of headaches. Gonna try TrafficPlanet. I’d rather focus on web design and SEO than have to learn ubuntu, linux and other fun stuff!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 5th, 2015 at 4:30 am

      Yes digitalocean is a good solution if you know how to setup cpanel/whm etc – but if you don’t its not that difficult but then you are 100% responsiable for any and all hosting problems – you are your support team.

      TPH has been very good to me so far and I am still with them, navigate around the blog and take a look for yourself :) Plus they have 24 hour support =D

  191. Wendy

    A so long and and helpful post Matt – I’m sure the WPEngine board are cringing!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 14th, 2015 at 2:31 am

      I have a good relationship with 1 of the higher level staff at WPEngine, who politely informed me I am not well liked within the company :)

  192. Jim

    I have to say, I was thisclose to going with WPEngine before reading your post, but after seeing how they react/respond to customers, I think I’m going to pass. You can really tell a lot about a person/company by their responses, and I didn’t like what I was reading from them. It’s like with eBay…I’m not as concerned with the genuine negative feedback as I am with how the seller responds to them. (Take ownership, apologize, and fix or attack and deflect)

    I’m still in need of a non-shared host with good security though. I’ve set up tests on AWS and DigitalOcean and can configure most things myself, but security is where I am lacking, and why I was almost wooed to WPEngine. Maybe I just need to start reading up on linux hardening and give it a shot myself. I know the risk of hacking is always lurking, but I just want to do all I can to prevent that, and this is why I know I need help in that area.

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 6th, 2015 at 10:55 am

      You could always hire someone to take care of that kind of thing for you

  193. Bert Ernie

    I should of read this article before moving to WP engine. Shocking tech support. Everything you said about tech support is coming true. Going to leave after only two days.

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 6th, 2015 at 10:53 am

      Very sorry to hear that Bert =\

  194. Oscar Elleseff


    Thank you for the great post! I wish I found it before we signed on with WP Engine. Stability has been a definite problem. In fact we are just coming off a 5 hour outage due to a power loss! My previous $12/month provider was rock solid in comparison. there is no excuse for this. Power loss should not be an issue in a well designed datacenter.

    Another big surprise with WP Engine is when you learn they do not offer email services or dns hosting. I will definitelly be looking for an alternative.


    • Matthew Woodward
      June 6th, 2015 at 10:53 am

      Hi Oscar,

      Sorry to hear that after all this time things haven’t improved. I had the same opinion about my $1/month (at the time) hosting with StableHost

  195. John Shea

    Wow this is quite the post. I’ve seen WPEngine advertised quite a bit, but as I noted in another comment I just left you I happen to be good friends with the CEO of a large colocation farm.

    What’s also interesting is how a lot of these companies just “source” their servers from other companies.

    In my case I’m literally talking to the owner who not only maintains the servers himself he actually owns them and sets up everything from scratch. I’m not going through hoops trying to understand what exactly I’m getting and where it’s coming from.

    When I first started out I used Bluehost (Went through Pat Flynn) and it was soo unreal how slow it was, I was probably sitting on a shared box with god knows how many other sites.

    Now I’m getting it free with 10x the speed and direct access to the person who manages everything and It’s free to boot, simply because we are friends :)

    I can’t believe how much crap you put up with for months, I would have abandoned them a lot sooner.

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 27th, 2015 at 9:02 am

      Yes I’m pretty sure they use https://www.digitalocean.com/ or similar on the backend but I’m not sure, but it would explain a lot.

  196. George

    Hi.I want to create a site in wordpress using Genesis framwork+theme.
    I’m searching for 2 weeks now a good hosting company.My site will be minimalist and simple.Max 3000 visitor per month.Best option will be bluehost.com.BUT,I heard a lot of complains,now I have read your post about WPengine.
    I’m from Romania(an East-European country).Which company do you recommend?Max 30$ per month(without hidden costs)
    Any help will be appreciated.Thank you in advance.

  197. George

    Do you know how much is the CDN service at trafficplanet?Thank you

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 6th, 2015 at 10:12 am

      Its included with the hosting I think

  198. Nick

    Hey mate,
    Did you end up having issues with WP Engine files after the transfer?

    The TPH transfer go seamless ?

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 6th, 2015 at 9:28 am

      Well it seems that WPEngine make a lot of modifications to the core WP files which makes migrating away from them a nightmare, bit of a scam imo.

  199. Thomas Charlie

    Thank you for the great post! Matthew we are facing similar issues with WP Engine. After being so tired of running my own dedicated server because of the increase of hacking, especially on WordPress sites.

    Now I have decided I’m currently looking to move my nonprofit organization to a better host — better than the current BlueHost VPS setup I have going right now.

    But well thats about how relevant their solutions were! about WP Engine.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 6th, 2015 at 9:21 am

      I’m not sure what you are trying to say sorry

      • Thomas Charlie
        July 11th, 2015 at 4:09 am

        I am just trying to say in simple way which hosting company is best for my small business except WP Engine

  200. Alvaro Pizza

    Hi Matt:

    Reading this post after 1+ year after being published I’d like to know how are you doing with your new hosting.

    I also would like to read an epic post about how to choose a hosting company. I’m a beginner in this SEO thing and I’m hosting in JustHost (the cheapest option), like you recommended in other post. But if I want to upgrade what should I look for? There are so many technical terms and words that I need a glossary to know where to move.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 8th, 2015 at 10:40 am

      Well, I’m still using it and don’t have any complaints so far so good :) They are the perfect upgrade from JustHost

  201. Sam

    Hey Matt, I am planning to trafficplanethosting, do you have any affiliate link? I have 5 sites, do you think I should stick to business or pro plan.?

    Many thanks

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 8th, 2015 at 10:39 am

      Sure you can hit this TrafficPlanetHosting link.

      If you only have 5 sites stick to the basic plan

  202. Keith


    Great article (novel?)

    .. you gave WPEngine way too much rope – and they (unbelievably) resorted to repeatedly wrapping it around their necks over and over.

    I’m curious about one thing, as TPH doesn’t cover this .. (perhaps best asked in your forum – heading there next) how do you cover malware scanning & removal? As a non-developer, I can’t sleep at night unless my sites (over 15 of ’em) aren’t being watched by malware-removal.

    Brute force attacks, spam , these are easy to deal with, but a tiny bit of malicious code – for a non-developer can be a nightmare!

    Would appreciate your thoughts ..

    Lastly – in fairness, I joined WPEngine two months ago, and have had a good experience and the 6 sites I host there are zippy – but you raised important concerns, most importantly how they may be changing core WP files making any migration a challenge.

    Would appreciate a follow-up on this bit of info – are they doing it, and if so, how to fix this during a migration. I imagine the folks over at TPH might be able to share some insight here.

    ((sorry for the lengthy comment)) love your work!

    Cheers! Keith

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 9th, 2015 at 6:02 pm

      Hey Keith,

      Hahaha its not the longest post I’ve written ( https://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/tutorials/how-i-built-a-top-100-blog-in-12-months/ )

      TPH alert you to this, then push you to Sucuri to get a full report and then they take care of it. They also have daily backups (always take your own as well though)

      In terms of the file changes it was that long ago now I couldn’t tell you, but I know the TPH team had a hard time migrating my site because of it – and these guys actually understand technical things.

    • lola
      October 8th, 2016 at 8:25 pm


      Just reiterating what Keith asked as I did see any reply. Does TPH protect against malware scanning & virus removal? What about DDOS and other threats. Do their servers offer any protection and are their any other hosts that offer good security. Appreciated. thanks

      • Matthew Woodward
        October 9th, 2016 at 6:13 pm

        Yes they do, you can read about it on their site

        • lola
          October 10th, 2016 at 11:54 am

          Thanks Matt,

  203. Paul McCarthy

    Good to see you also recommending TPH – we tested out a bunch of hosts before getting behind Terry and what he’s building over there.

    I moved a site over, and here’s how Google reacted to site load times in Webmaster Tools:- http://thrivethemes.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/tph-google-webmaster-2.png

    The “before” host is a top quality host aswell.

    Let’s see if Terry and TPH can manage to scale in a better way.

  204. Paknode

    O mine, I also used there services in past and yes they were really good now I am with some other company. But I saw this post and it shocked me really as I saw very good reviews about them in past at this time I don’t know any other review I will now defiantly check the updated review on internet about them as you mentioned in this post. Thank you .

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 28th, 2015 at 9:55 am

      I hope it helps your business :)

  205. Michael

    Great article Matthew :) never considered Linode before. I personally prefer Australian based hosting as I am in Australia.

    Levation Hosting have great quality VPS plans too :) http://www.levation.com.au/vps-hosting/

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 7th, 2015 at 7:18 am

      Yeah if your in Australia, for sure you are better sticking off with Australian based hosts over any other.

  206. GLL

    Dear Matt,

    I am about to release my new website online.
    I was going to get a subscription at WPEngine as I already worked with them in the past (following your advice) and I wanted to do so again, because I was satisfied with my previous experience.

    I visited your website in order to book the subscription via one of your affiliate links and ended up on this article… the question is: is it still up to date ?

    (A bit out-of-topic here: I find it a bit annoying not to be able to have the actual date of articles on your website, this one is dated 2015 and all screen shot go back to 2013/2014)

    Which hosting service do you use/recommand nowadays ?

    Cheers !

    • GLL
      August 17th, 2015 at 6:55 am

      BTW, feel free to provide me with an affiliate link or a coupon or whatever, I blindly follow your advice ;)

      • Matthew Woodward
        August 17th, 2015 at 9:25 am

        The date on the articles is when they were last updated :)

        But yes this post still holds true and you will see from other comments that people are still having problems. But I am still using TrafficPlanetHosting myself

        • GLL
          August 18th, 2015 at 1:09 am

          Cheers Matt !

          I contacted TPH support team to have more info about their service and I think that WPEngine still offers features that are better than TPH and that justifies the price difference.

          Mainly, with WPE, there is also a very convinient staging area (a test domain), there is a CDN (not included in the 1-domain offer) and all the back-up, security and cache are native and you don’t need an extra plug-in (for me, W3 Total Cache was a total nightmare – although I have to be fair to TPH, they offered to tune it themselves should I become on of their clients).

          What do you think about that ? How do you cope with it with TPH ?

          I am really esitating because I had a great experience with WPE (I stopped using their service in May) but I really value your opinion, so I’m in for quite a headache hear ^^

          Thank’s again for all your help !

          • Matthew Woodward
            August 18th, 2015 at 1:57 pm

            Hey GLL,

            Yes WPEngine does have some extra value stuff, but the CDN they include is just a white labelled version of MaxCDN that you can pick up for around $5 per month. The staging area is a great feature of WPEngine there is no denying that, but again you can do that yourself with a subndomain and a free plugin called WPClone – ok that will take 2 clicks to create the staging area vs WPEngines 1 click but its not difficult.

            The caching system that WPEngine uses is absolutely awful and I had countless problems with it. Not only that but WPEngine makes significant changes to your base wordpress files for them to be compatible with their custom caching system, this means that if you were to ever move away you would need to hire a developer to remove all the extra/changed code they put into your install (TPH did this for me free during the migration but they were disgusted by how far reaching the changes were).

            I agree that the extra features do justify the extra price. However given how bad the service is and how bad the support is and reading some of the more recent comments here, it makes those extra features useless. If WPEngine actually delivered on the claims they make across their site, this post wouldn’t exist :)

  207. Nikole Gipps

    While I know that TPH does have nice speeds, I would watch out with them in terms of downtime and malware. I have cleaned up some super ugly hacks with them in the past year.

    The most absurd thing about WP Engine is that their support cuts out at 5 pm in whatever time zone they are in. Like what, my site is only open during business hours? Had a few clients with teleseminars and such that were going at night, massive problems, and no one there to fix them.

    I have all my own personal sites on LiquidWeb VPS. They also have a new managed service that is optimized for WordPress and it’s pretty amazing. Plus their support is so good … man, I could have totally married those guys for the number of times they have saved my bacon lol.

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 9th, 2015 at 11:33 am

      99.9% of malware comes in through vulnerabilities in plugins, every week there is a new emergency zero day exploit – Yoast SEO had one recently as has Visual Composer and a bunch of other big plugins that are used by millions of sites making them all vulnerable regardless of hosting.

  208. Sandra E. Cramp

    Wow. That’s more than enough time to get things fixed and I am amazed to see your patience. I would never allow that much time to fix a mere database issue which keeps killing my business. I was considering about WP Engine for my next project but thanks to Greg Daniels who shared link to your post in AWP Facebook group which saved me from a possible disaster. I already heard about WP Engine system is not developer friendly but now I can see it’s not user friendly either.

  209. Gerry

    by Matthew Woodward:

    “… feature of WPEngine there is no denying that, but again you can do that yourself with a subdomain and a free plugin called WPClone – ok that will take 2 clicks to create the staging area vs WPEngines 1 click but its not difficult.”

    Mother Facker! Seriously???

    I just left Traffic Planet to go to Wpengine because of the ‘Lack of a Staging Environment at Traffic Planet Hosting”.

    I brought this to Traffic Planet hosting as the reason for requesting the balance of the one year hosting refund (aprox 6 months) to them, to which the reply via email was:

    “Hi Gerry,

    Sorry to see you going and we appreciate your feedback.

    153.04 USD refunded to your PP account.

    Kind regards,

    Yuliya Kyle”

    I’m surprised that they didn’t bring this wpclone solution to my attention in order to retain my account!

    If you’re in contact with them, bring it to their attention man. Seriously, I loved Traffic Planet, hosting and support.

    The lack of a staging environment is THE ONLY reason that I left, everthing else over there was to my 100% satisfaction.

    Now I’m very sad, and will go have a glass of wine to console myself… Knowing that I left Traffic Planet to Wpengine…


    Thanks for the great write up Mr. Woodward.



    • Matthew Woodward
      November 10th, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      Hey Gerry,

      Oh dear I’m sorry to hear that, good luck with WPEngine – the staging area is not worth the rest of the bullshit and now your site is with them, they have already injected lots of wpengine specific code which means if you want to move it back, your going to have a really hard time.

      You might want to get a couple of bottles of wine in reserve :)

  210. Michael Looby

    Hi Matthew: Sorry to read about your total nightmare with WPEngine. In fact, I edited an article of mine that featured WPEngine because of your negative experience with them: http://www.rightblogtips.com/2014/07/why-premium-web-hosting-is-the-secret-ingredient.html
    In it, I now link to this article of yours so my readers can see the stress that WPEngine caused you, not to mention all the lost revenue! In my experience with hosting, one guy you can really rely on is Dave Zhang over at HostAwesome. He has provided me with STELLAR customer service and has NEVER let me down. Btw, even their free hosting account is excellent, which would be ideal for any newbie bloggers who are just starting out and aren’t serious enough yet to spend money on hosting.

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 21st, 2015 at 6:19 pm

      Thanks Michael that is very kind of you

      They offer a very attractive affiliate commission so the internet is flooded with fake reviews of them!

  211. Davey

    Mr. Woodward,

    My company and I are (or were) on the verge of moving our website to WPEngine as we’re experiencing tremendous growth. We just had a conference call with them and, after reading your post, I can definitely see how it all correlates, particularly from reading your correspondence with them.

    Safe to say, you’ve just saved me from making one of the biggest mistakes I could’ve ever made! THANK YOU FOR THAT!!!

    Now I’m thinking of seriously looking at DreamHost. I’ve read great things about them but would love to hear any experience you (or anyone else) has had with them.



    • Matthew Woodward
      November 21st, 2015 at 6:11 pm

      Thanks Davey – glad it helped you out!

      Did you ask them about this post?

      DreamHost are more of a budget/shared host I wouldn’t recommend them but it really depends on your requirements

  212. Kevin

    Hi Matthew,

    this post has been very interesting and revealing to read. I run several sites and Ive been looking to upgrade my webhosting to another hosting provider. One of which was WPEngine.

    I come from an IT background so I’m not a newbie to WordPress or webservers and I’m pretty shocked by your experience with WPEngine. I will now definitely be staying away.

    It sounds like the classic corporate mistake that so many businesses make. After building and running a great business, the original owner and founder then sells out, takes the money and runs, and the newcomers take over. Namely corporate investors who can’t see further than the profit and loss account and the balance sheet.

    Quality and service then get diluted and run down, the assets get sweated and squeezed and the end result: a whole heap of problems and dissatisfied customers.

    The delays and daft or non-existent answers to the problems and issues you have since had with WPEngine are classic corporate phenomena. No-one wants to stick their neck out, everything has to be “approved” – or else just ignored.

    Result: the whole business just goes down the pan. It happens so many times.

    As for ending support at 5pm, that is just plain daft for a hosting provider. You might as well run a restaurant and close for lunch. Hosting is a 24×7 service business.

    I will be staying with Hostgator, at least for the near future. So far they have been pretty good and they don’t overcharge either.

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 2nd, 2015 at 4:29 pm

      Yeah they got a phat stack of venture capital funding and the owner checked out which only ever goes 1 way.

  213. Jaiden

    Your site loads very slowly. Perhaps try fewer plugins and get rid of that ugly black thing at the top of the page.

    Maybe the host wasn’t the problem. Just saying.

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 22nd, 2015 at 6:31 pm

      Over the past month I have added quite a few new plugins to the blog which are having a considerable impact on the blogs performance, I need to throttle back you are right :)

  214. Lori

    Thanks for this post. Most accurate review of WP Engine I have seen. My experience with them has been very similar to yours and I will be moving my site, even though I paid for a year in advance. Support is terrible and blames everything else except WP Engine, even when the site had none of the same problems on its previous server. Downtime, 502 errors on both front and admin end, and restrictions that are supposed to be preventing these things, yet development version of the site on another server has none of the same problems and no restrictions. Staging site on WP Engine has the same problems as the live site. Can’t get away fast enough!

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 6th, 2016 at 10:43 am

      Sorry to hear that Lori – WPEngine pay attractive affiliate commission so its hard to find a real review and a little birdy told me the reason they increased the affiliate commission was to push out reviews like this one but that could just be rumor.

      I know they have spoken with various people in the industry about how to get this post removed rather than just speaking with me directly so it gives you a good idea of the kind of tactics they are willing to use.

      Be aware that when you migrate away from them, you will need a developer to fix the install because WPEngine hijack your site by injecting code into core files.

      • JustMe
        January 10th, 2016 at 5:47 pm

        Hi Matthew,

        That’s some woefully bad hosting experiences with WPEngine. However and sad to say, it’s not an isolated occurrence, there are many other ‘cowboy’ operations out there. Thankfully there are good folk like yourself who aren’t afraid to post the facts, the real truth about dodgy hosting companies, kudos!

        In reply to your comment, I’m confused by this statement:

        “Be aware that when you migrate away from them, you will need a developer to fix the install because WPEngine hijack your site by injecting code into core files.”

        If the WP core files have been tampered with, then download fresh core files, update your config, check your DB and it should spell problem solved. Where this would become an issue, is if the Theme/Child files have been tampered with. Primarily the functions.php of the theme is a good place to start checking. Granted you’d need to know php and what to look for, what’s out of place.

        I have used WP installers in the past, it saved a lot of time but a couple cost me a lot of time too. These days it’s manual upload and manual install from A to Z.

        Just as a heads up for anyone using a WP automated installer, these will set ALL your DB User Privileges to ON. WP only needs the following to functions The rest leaves your site open to abuse. These are:

        Create Temporary Tables
        Lock Tables

  215. Kirill Polevsky

    Hey Matt,

    This post is a huge eyes opener for many of those who buy the hype that surrounds WP Engine.

    I wouldn’t EVER thought that such a seemingly cool-looking company would provide such a terrible service.

    I can imagine how badly your article must have affected their reputation during the last 1.5 years or so.

    Has anyone of them got in touch with you regarding this post, or do they just remain silent?

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 27th, 2016 at 5:24 pm

      At the time this was written I was in good contact with someone called Tomas who confirmed I was the most hated person at WPEngine but that sort of died off and now the only thing I hear from them is all the smack talk that comes out of their ‘private’ dinners at conferences that some of my clients are invited too (honestly they are THAT stupid).

      Never have they approached me at a conference to talk about it like big people although I know they have tried to influence people to influence me to take the post down indirectly.

      Like dealing with children, except they run a company that is responsible for other peoples businesses.

  216. Steven

    I am currently dealing with WP Engine, have been hosting with them for a week after falling for all the sales hype (and false reviews that exist just for an affiliate sale), and already I am seeing MASSIVE red flags.

    Firstly, the migration did not work.

    Secondly, they are taking half a day to answer basic tickets.

    Thirdly, they are also ignoring tickets.

    Also, their live chat is not working “connection not made”, which makes me wonder if they can redirect to this message from what they deem as a ‘customer that asks awkward questions..’.

    And finally (for now), they are massively over inflating visitor stats, more than double.

    Yes, the website speed is a lot faster than it was, but I really dread to think how poor they would be if a server went down, and that is simply not a risk I am willing to take. I will be moving soon, just looking for a reliable host – which as we all know is a task in itself.

    Basically, when you are paying premium prices, for shared hosting, and $29.99 is a premium price, then you expect a premium support, and service.

    So far, it has been on a par with a $3 a month shared hosting service.

    The old UK saying of “all fur coat and no knickers” is currently springing to mind

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 1st, 2016 at 7:26 pm

      Sorry to hear you are having so many problems with them Steven!

  217. Steven

    Hi Matthew,

    Can I ask you, you are in the UK like me, and have a .co.uk, which is the domain I host with WP Engine.