SiteGround vs WP Engine: which is the best for your WordPress site?
I might have the tiniest clue that you are looking for a WordPress site host. SiteGround and WP Engine are both some of the best choices for that. And in this article, I look at their pricing, ease of use and features, performance, security, and support to find out which is better.
Actually, narrowing the list down to SiteGround vs WPEngine is a very good start.
SiteGround is often recommended for helpful support agents, remarkable performance, and easy to use yet functional user interface.
At the same time, users praise WP Engine for highly powerful hardware, custom software solutions, and overall great experience.
Seems like there’s not a bad choice here.
And to be honest, that’s partially correct. Both of the providers can satisfy the needs of various users. But then why settle for average when it’s possible to find an option that’s optimal for you?
That is exactly the point of this comparison – finding which provider is better and for what kind of user. So let’s start!
SiteGround vs WP Engine: general info
In general, both SiteGround and WP Engine focus on WordPress users, with numerous features designed specifically for the platform. That’s staging and speed optimizations. But, while SiteGround supports other content management systems too, WP Engine is dedicated to WordPress entirely. Although pricing difference suggests that there might be even more to discover.
So here's a quick overview of the main facts. You can either read the full article or jump straight to the conclusion to find out the final verdict.
|Pricing:||from $3.99/month||from $22.50/month|
|Ease of use:||Custom control panel||Custom control panel|
|Performance:||99.99% uptime and 217ms response time||100% uptime and 489ms response time|
|Security:||SSLs, server monitoring, WAF, daily backups, security plugin, AI anti-bot protection||SSLs, daily backups, server monitoring, plugin management|
|Support:||24/7 live chat, tickets, and phone||24/7 live chat and phone|
SiteGround is a cheaper option starting at $3.99/month. The provider’s plan structure is simpler as it only has shared and Cloud options. WP Engine is more expensive with a starting price of $22.50/month, introductory discount counted in. Alongside the 4 standard packages, it also has a bunch of different options with extra features for various needs on the same cloud infrastructure.
Surprisingly, both providers provide quite similar features – free SSLs, daily backups, custom cashing, CDN, 1 website limit on the cheapest plan, and the same 10GB SSD storage. At the same time, staging is included in all WP Engine’s plans alongside team management features. SiteGround only includes these starting with the mid-range plan.
In any case, this is how the cheapest packages look like:
- SiteGround StartUp ($3.99/month) features 10GB SSD storage, bandwidth for 10 000 monthly visitors, and daily backups.
- WP Engine Startup($22.50/month) includes 10GB SSD storage, 50GB bandwidth for around 25 000 monthly visits, staging, backups, and 30+ premium themes.
While WP Engine is more expensive, it does include more bandwidth and extra features such as staging and backups.
At the same time, both providers offer an introductory discount with yearly subscriptions, after which the prices increase. Here’s how it looks:
|Provider||Plan||Total initial price||Total renewal price|
WP Engine’s increase is not as significant as SiteGround’s. At the same time, it’s almost no way to avoid these higher renewal prices. Although SiteGround has one option.
To avoid higher renewals with SiteGround, you can choose to pre-pay 3 years in advance. The monthly price will be higher, but it will remain the same for renewal too. For example, StartUp monthly rate becomes $10.49/mo for as long as you need it. That’s a total of $377.64 for 3 years.
At the same time, the cheapest plans are rarely offering the best value. That’s why I analyzed the rest of the packages.
SiteGround has 3 plans ranging from SiteGround Wordpress price to $10.69 a month with a yearly subscription and introductory discount.
The cheapest plan is limiting and does not include the main features that make SiteGround so attractive – that is staging, on-demand backups, and Ultrafast PHP. On the other hand, both other options look great.
- GrowBig is a more standard option for small business websites and popular blogs. Freelancers can also use it to host their clients’ sites.
- GoGeek is the plan for business use. Thanks to the white-label control panel feature, it doubles as a reseller hosting option for agencies.
GrowBig is the best plan for the majority of users. It comes at $6.69/mo with an $80.28 pre-payment. Alternatively, you can pick it for 3-years to avoid higher renewal prices. In that case, the monthly rate will be $17.49.
WP Engine has 4 standard packages ranging from $22.50/month to $217.50 a month. Additionally, there are 3 other variations of these plans that include extra features, which increases the price to up to $262.50/mo.
With each plan, you get more and more resources. But I think that 2 plans are offering some of the best value:
- Startup is great if you know that 1 website is enough for you. It’s offering a lot of server power for 1 site that needs mission-critical reliability.
- Scale is the one for agencies and businesses, especially if you’re planning to use this plan fully. If you’d host all 30 allowed websites, it would put the cost of each website at $7.25/mo – as cheap as simple shared hosting.
Other plans are good, but the cost per site rate is not that attractive.
For the lowest price for your business website, choose Startup, which will cost $270 initially and $300 on renewal. For overall best value and agency use – Scale, at $2 610 initial payment, makes the most sense.
One more thing that separates the 2 is the money-back policy.
- SiteGround has a 30-day money-back guarantee, and it refunds renewals as well.
- WP Engine does not advertise its refund policy, but you can get a full refund 60-days after the purchase by contacting the billing team.
Altogether, SiteGround is cheaper than WP Engine, even though they offer quite similar packages. However, WP Engine’s pricing is much more transparent, while SiteGround has a complex structure for renewals and different billing periods.
Hosting management: ease of use
In general, SiteGround and WP Engine interfaces are very easy to use and straightforward. They both use custom dashboards and control panels together with their own developed extra tools.
Account management dashboard
Getting started on both platforms can easily be described as effortless. In either case, the first thing you see after signing up is the main dashboard.
With SiteGround, what you get is a horizontal menu bar at the top of the page that allows you to toggle between websites, services, billing, etc. It is the main navigation through all the settings.
On the homepage, you basically find a welcome message with steps and explanations on how to quickly get a website running.
Overall, it’s a main navigational area that will help you reach all the main settings as well as create a new website.
WP Engine’s homepage/dashboard is a little different visually but very similar fundamentally. Your dashboard is divided into 3 columns with a menu for tools and features on the left, site statistics on the right, and tips for new users and notifications in the middle.
Again, this area is mainly used for navigation and getting the latest information about the platform and your account. Other than that, you’ll need to get into Sites, Tools, and other menu items to manage your hosting account.
In both cases, the general user experience is very intuitive and hassle-free.
Control panel comparison
Both advanced and simple tasks in hosting are always done through some sort of control panel. In the case of WPEngine and SiteGround, both have custom and similarly intuitive management areas.
SiteGround’s control panel is called Site Tools. The first thing you see is your pinned tools meaning, that you can customize the experience and make it more intuitive for your unique needs.
The rest of the options are found in the menu on the left. Conveniently grouped into 8 categories, all the settings - from basic to advanced are found there.
This is a custom approach, and some getting-used-to will be needed whether you are completely new or have used a dashboard like cPanel before. At the same time, it’s no less functional; you’ll find standard management options such as file manager, databases, email, and domains. Additionally, SiteGround includes a Speed optimizations section as well as an area for WordPress management, where staging environments can be created.
Similarly, WP Engine is also putting lots of focus on ease of use and convenience. At the same time, it’s a little bit more advanced.
The control panel is closely integrated with the main dashboard. The menu with all the tools and settings is also on the left. But here you’ll see additional menu items Add Staging and Add Development. These are the staging environments for WP Engine, and each copy will get its own control panel, just like this main one.
As with all custom control panels, you will have to get used to the interface and all the controls. However, functionality and convenience are definitely there.
I also liked that features such as CDN and backups are managed with a click of a button. No need for complex forms and options to be configured.
All in all, it’s difficult to announce the winner here. Both SiteGround and WP Engine are similarly great when it comes to control panels. While they both chose a custom approach, they did not lose functionalities.
Website staging tools
This is one area where WP Engine outdoes SiteGround. WP Engine comes with a rare offering of development, staging, and production environments. A combination you’ll hardly find on any other hosting platform. SiteGround, on the other hand, offers only the staging environment, which developers can equally take advantage of.
While staging environments are quite rare in shared web hosting, SiteGround does include this tool. It’s quite standard and easy to use.
In your control panel, you can copy the original website using a backup. The possibilities of how you use that copy are limitless – you can test if plugin updates won’t break the site, implement changes, or completely re-do the design.
It’s similarly easy to push those changes to the live version of the site. Overall, it’s one of the most helpful tools to have when owning a website. Plus, SiteGround makes this developer-focused feature easy to use even if you’ve never built a site before.
As for WP Engine, its tool is more advanced. It has a 3-environment system, each of which can function individually. But generally, this is how they are used:
- Development environment: It allows you to build, test, and implement changes to websites and applications.
- Staging environment: This environment is essentially a bridge between the development and production environments. Here is where you get to test and experiment with your changes and other features before you actually show them to your users.
- Production environment: This is your site’s live version your users get to see.
It’s interesting as all the environments will get a fully functional control panel. This means that you are not limited to test changes at the WordPress level. You can also try out different settings in terms of server configuration and tools.
Nonetheless, on either of the vendors, all you need to do to add any of the available environments is to simply click a button and choose what copy to use.
Just keep in mind that the staging tool is available starting with GrowBig on SiteGround. WP Engine includes it in all packages.
WP Engine takes the clear win when it comes to development environments. But SiteGround doesn’t lag behind too much with its staging environment too.
All in all, when it comes to hosting management, both providers are intuitive and functional. They both use custom management tools and prove them to be as effective, or even more than the standard tools such as cPanel.
SiteGround vs WPEngine performance
Performance is where I expected to find some major differences between these 2 providers. However, SiteGround surprised me by showing that its servers are faster and more powerful.
Let’s get into the details.
Uptime and response time
To find out how reliable the providers are, I monitored them over a period of time.
In 2 months, SiteGround scored 99.99% uptime which is excellent, considering that the uptime guarantee is 99.9%. It had just 3 outages – a total of 7 minutes of downtime.
Response time is also up there with the best providers. 217ms average response time is rarely what shared hosting achieves. SiteGround gives a really hard time for the competition.
WP Engine was also monitored for 2 months and showed an even better result. It was up all the time with the perfect 100% uptime score. This provider, too, outperforms itself – it has a 99.95% uptime guarantee.
At the same time, its response time was slower, averaging at 489ms. While the result itself is great, it’s 2 times slower than SiteGround’s.
So SiteGround’s server turns out to be faster, while WP Engine’s – slightly more reliable.
I also tested and compared the speed of the providers. To get comparable results, I set up identical websites on each of the platforms. GTMetrix page speed test was used to see how fast the websites loaded.
In this test, we are looking at 3 measures that are important to search engines and visitors:
- Largest Contentful Paint – it’s when the main chunk of content is loaded. Keep it under 2.5 seconds and you’re good.
- Fully Loaded Time – visitors start getting impatient if this time steps over 3 seconds mark.
- TTFB – this measure is very server-oriented as it shows how long did it take for the initial reaction to happen. In ideal scenarios, it should fit in the 200ms mark.
SiteGround manages to fit in all the benchmarks. It’s Largest Contentful Paint loaded in 872ms and there was a very small delay until Fully Loaded – the wheel stopped spinning at 1.1 seconds. This is a very good result.
As for TTFB, the server reacted in 90ms. Which is more than 2 times better than the recommended time.
Again, SiteGround makes its competitions’ lives very difficult.
WP Engine results are very close. The Largest Contentful Paint is slightly higher at 938ms, but the fully loaded time is the same 1.1 seconds. So the visitors really won’t see any difference here.
WP Engine’s server took slightly longer to react too – TTFB is 140ms. Which is still better than the recommended time.
The website loading speed will also depend on the server’s and your audience’s location. The further they are apart, the longer it takes to load. Fortunately, both SiteGround and WP Engine have broad data center choices that cover the majority of the globe. You can pick the one that’s best for your audience when purchasing.
Honestly, there’s little difference between SiteGround vs WPEngine in terms of website speed. You’ll get great results with both providers.
Stress testing results
For the final test, I checked how well SiteGround and WP Engine can handle the traffic. Over 5 minutes I’ve sent 50 virtual users (bots) to the websites. That’s a huge number that would mean around 50 000 monthly visits in real life.
SiteGround, once again, outperformed itself. My plan is supposed to handle 25 000 monthly visits, but the provider easily holds up to the full load.
To understand the graph, you need to look at the blue line (it’s speed/server response time), and the grey line (it’s the number of visitors). Also, the red line would indicate failures, but there are 0 of them in this case.
The blue line remains flat even when the number of bots keeps growing. This shows that SiteGround doesn’t need to slow down to keep up with the traffic.
No better result can be expected.
WP Engine did not handle the full load and I decreased the traffic by 5 to find out what is it capable of. The end result was 30 virtual users.
With 30 virtual users, WP Engine doesn’t slow down even by a little bit, which is excellent.
Also, it holds up to the traffic it promises to – the plan is capable of handling 25 000 monthly visitors.
So while it doesn’t outperform itself like SiteGround, it’s still a great and expected result.
Overall, there’s little to separate these hosts when performance is considered. Both are very reliable and speedy. At the same time, SiteGround has to take the points, as at a much lower price, it handles more traffic and is slightly faster.
In this part of SiteGround vs WPEngine comparison, I analyzed how well the providers take care of the security. Turns out, they are both doing quite a good job, making sure both basic and more advanced vulnerabilities are covered.
For starters, SSL certificates and automatic daily backups are included by default with both.
Additionally, SiteGround has:
- Real-time monitoring system – it checks server health every 0.5 seconds.
- A custom web application firewall (WAF) – it protects websites from unwanted and malicious traffic. SiteGround adds new rules constantly.
- An AI anti-bot system – self-learning system blocks malicious activity from reaching your website.
At the same time, WP Engine is a little less impressive:
- Server monitoring and firewall – WP Engine spots threats and blocks unwanted traffic from reaching your site.
- Plugin management – careful auditing makes sure that plugins that are known to cause issues or security vulnerabilities are blocked.
Additional security measures are paid. For example, Global Edge Security that includes managed Web Application Firewall (WAF), DDoS mitigation, protection from OWASP top-10 vulnerabilities, costs $300/year.
Altogether, both SiteGround and WP Engine take care of website security seriously. At the same time, SiteGround does just a little bit more, which is surprising, considering the price difference.
Both SiteGround and WP Engine make it possible to contact their support teams through 24/7 live chat and phone. While SiteGround provides phone support all around the clock with all plans and adds a ticket option to the mix, WP Engine has phone support starting with the Professional plan only.
Just like every other hosting provider, SiteGround and WP Engine prefer you to answer your own questions. Their knowledge bases full of tutorials assist you in doing so. In my experience, I found both article libraries very helpful, with almost all the basic questions you may have in the process of getting settled already answered in detail.
Nonetheless, 24/7 real human support is there and available.
With SiteGround, it can get a tiny bit confusing. The provider asks you to first fill out a form that, in some cases, is delivered directly to ticket support, and in other cases, you’ll get to choose to either open live chat or call the support. The provider does this for efficiency – some questions require more advanced help, so they are redirected to tickets.
My question allowed me to try out the live chat. I wanted to change the currency on my account as I bought a plan from a different locale accidentally. The agent replied instantly.
While it wasn’t possible to just simply switch the currency and locale, I was offered a solution on how to do that. Quick and efficient.
As for WP Engine, I’ve talked to technical support a couple of times. Both of the times, I got responses immediately, and the agents were friendly. I had a problem with my domain not working.
However, the first agent didn’t really solve my problem, just advised me to wait. I probably should have insisted on getting help right there and then, but I just thought the agent checked the problem and trusted their knowledge.
The next day, I tried again. This agent was more helpful and checked the problem thoroughly.
As there were not one but a couple of issues, he resolved them himself. Also, he explained how to do some of the things on my own.
The interaction was quite lengthy as the agent was checking all the things that could’ve gone wrong. In the end, I came out with a working website.
This really shows that WP Engine employs professionals capable of getting technical stuff under control.
Honestly, no matter which provider you choose, you’ll get fast and professional help. Plus, both providers have additional resources to help you out. There’s really no way of telling which one is better in this department.
SiteGround vs WPEngine: final recommendations
In the comparison of SiteGround vs WPEngine, there aren’t that many differences in terms of performance and functionality. That’s surprising because WP Engine is a completely premium provider, while SiteGround is the more affordable option in this comparison.
Let’s take a look at how they fared in each key area:
|Pricing||SiteGround is much cheaper than WP Engine starting at $3.99/month. At the same time, WP Engine is a premium platform for mission-critical projects starting at $22.50/month.|
|Interface||There's not that many differences, comparing the ease of use as both hosts are equally functional. Nonetheless, SiteGround might be more beginner-friendly.|
|Performance||Both SiteGround and WP Engine showed exceptional performance results, although SiteGround was slightly faster and capable of handle bigger loads of traffic.|
|Security||Both providers cover the basics and more advanced security measures, but SiteGround is significantly more inclusive.|
|Support||24/7 customer support is easily available with both hosts. At the same time, SiteGround's system is a bit more complex, while you need to push some WP Engine's agents to get immediate help.|
SiteGround is offering excellent value for money with its shared hosting plans. The provider is very powerful, secure, and functional. There are really not many better options if you need high-performance hosting for small-to-medium-sized business websites.
At the same time, WP Engine cloud platform is a premium alternative more suited to agencies and large businesses. Choose it if you have mission-critical projects in your hands.
Alternatives to SiteGround and WP Engine
SiteGround and WP Engine may excel in certain areas but there are other web hosting alternatives that might satisfy different needs. My recommended alternatives to SiteGround and WP Engine are Hostinger, InMotion Hosting, and Cloudways.
The major advantage this vendor offers is its pricing. Hostinger offers arguably the cheapest plans in the shared hosting industry, starting from $1.39/month.
The provider’s user interface is also easy to use and intuitive. Notwithstanding the low price point, you still get some of the best performance and reliability possible on shared hosting.
InMotion Hosting is a multi-purpose solution for almost any website development project. The provider is well known for its reliable performance and variety of hosting options.
Here, you can choose between the shared, WordPress, dedicated, and VPS hosting plans. If you’re looking for classic cPanel hosting, shared hosting plans starting at $2.29/month are excellent.
If you require highly powerful and flexible hosting, Cloudways managed Cloud VPS is one of the best options. It resells plans from top VPS providers such as AWS, Google Cloud, Vultr, Linode, and DigitalOcean. But reselling is not all – it equips these powerful servers with easy to use control panel.
Cloudways is rather affordable for such an advanced option, and the pricing is very flexible, allowing for scalability.
More SiteGround comparisons you might want to read
- SiteGround vs Bluehost
- SiteGround vs HostGator
- Cloudways vs SiteGround
- Flywheel vs SiteGround
- A2 Hosting vs SiteGround
- SiteGround vs InMotion Hosting
More WP Engine comparisons for you to check out
SiteGround vs WP Engine FAQs
Which provider, SiteGround or WP Engine, is better for WordPress?
Both SiteGround and WP Engine are focusing on WordPress hosting. At the same time, WP Engine is a WordPress-only platform, making it a better choice.
Which is easier to use, WP Engine or SiteGround?
Both WP Engine and SiteGround are easy to use. The providers use custom control panels with straightforward tools built-in. WP Engine is more advanced, but you’ll have no problems with either of them.
Do SiteGround and WP Engine offer cPanel?
Neither SiteGround nor WP Engine offers cPanel. Both providers are using custom alternatives that are similarly easy to use and modern-looking, unlike the classic cPanel skin.
Do SiteGround and WP Engine provide unlimited hosting?
SiteGround and WP Engine do not provide unlimited hosting. SiteGround offers 40 GB storage on its high-end GoGeek plan but does not put a hard limit on bandwidth usage. WP Engine’s most expensive Scale plan also provides 50 GB storage and 500 GB bandwidth/month. You can, however, pay for up to 1TB storage on its Custom plan.