Best WP Engine alternatives: power on a tight budget
In this article, I will discuss the 5 best WPEngine alternatives, that offer better value for money. Additionally, I discussed what WP Engines factors may lead you to look for alternatives.
WP Engine is a well-known WordPress-only hosting provider. The host delivers exceptional performance and business-oriented tools like 3 staging environments or collaboration/role assigning. But while it’s very impressive in some areas, it surely won’t be everyone’s first pick.
Why is that? WP Engine seems like a no-brainer when it comes to WordPress hosting. The host literally concentrates on WordPress only. Yet, just like most things, WP Engine has a few drawbacks that might lead you to search for alternatives.
Here are a few of those minuses:
- Premium prices,
- Relatively limited resources,
- Upselling attempts.
If you’re on a budget or simply looking for a better price-resources ratio, there are 5 great WP Engine alternatives that just might be up to your liking. Here’s how those providers rank.
Best WP Engine alternatives: ranked
- Hostinger – best overall WP Engine alternative
- SiteGround – premium WP Engine alternative
- Bluehost – best WP Engine alternative for small businesses
- DreamHost – resource-rich hosting provider
- Cloudways – best managed VPS WP Engine alternative
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|Features||Free SSL, CDN, LiteSpeed Web Server, hPanel|
|Best for||Budget option for a fast website|
If low cost is your primary focus when searching for WPEngine alternatives, Hostinger is the one for you. It’s the cheapest provider on this list, with plans starting at $2.59/mo. And for the price, it provides impressive performance, great customer support, and a user-friendly control panel.
So what factors did actually land Hostinger among the best WP Engine alternatives?
- Hostinger is among, if not the cheapest hosting provider out there. Its shared hosting entry plan retails for only $2.59/mo, and the WordPress plans start at $1.99/mo.
- Hostinger has its own custom control panel, hPanel. It’s quite similar to the commonly-used cPanel – just as easy and intuitive to use. From your hosting account to sites, emails, and security, you can manage everything from here.
- All Hostinger’s plans – Shared and WordPress ones – give extraordinary mileage. Sure, Hostinger’s base plan may lack some security tools, like daily backups, compared to WP Engine. But the storage and bandwidth are double the WP Engine’s entry plan.
- One more thing that Hostinger really excels at is performance. The provider keeps its software and hardware up to date. You will be guaranteed the latest PHP version alongside technologies like LiteSpeed Web Server and pre-configured caching.
In short, Hostinger is the best choice for anyone looking for quality services at a low price. You can rest assured that the provider will put performance and ease of use at the forefront of it all.
Hostinger has 2 shared and 1 cloud hosting plan, costing from $2.59/month to $9.99/month. Moreover, it also offers WordPress hosting priced from $1.99/mo to $11.59/mo. For comparison, WP Engines' cheapest plan retails for $22.50/mo.
Each shared plan comes with a free domain, an SSL certificate, and at least 100 email accounts. More so, all plans except the entry include a free domain. Apart from that, the main difference lies with the number of websites, storage, and monthly views.
- Premium ($2.59/mo) comes with 100 websites, 100 email accounts, 100GB SSD storage, and bandwidth that can handle up to 25k monthly visits.
- Business ($4.99/mo) includes 100 websites, 200GB SSD storage, bandwidth for 100k visits per month, free CDN, and daily backups.
- Cloud Startup ($9.99/mo) offers 300 websites, 200GB SSD storage, 2CPUs cores, 3GB RAM, cache manager, free daily backups, and CDN.
However, if you’re looking for WordPress-specific hosting, Hostinger has 4 plans to offer.
All 4 WordPress plans come with at least 1 email account, free SSL, managed WordPress, and WordPress acceleration. The primary difference is in the number of websites, disk space, and bandwidth. They range from 1 to 300 websites, 30 to 200 GB SSD storage, and 10 000 to 300 000 monthly visits.
To get the best package for the lowest price, I suggest you consider the Premium shared hosting plan. By committing for 4 years, you will secure a monthly price of $2.59 for the first installment. Additionally, you can opt for one of the WordPress-oriented plans if you’re looking for enhanced WordPress performance.
When it comes to performance, Hostinger does not disappoint – the host proved to be very reliable and quite fast.
While the official uptime guarantee only promises 99.9%, Hostinger’s actual uptime came up to a perfect 100%.
Examining the response time, it averaged at 511ms, and that’s still considered to be among the fastest response times. As long as this measure is under 600ms, you have nothing to worry about.
More so, Hostinger is one of a few providers that gives you quite a bit of freedom when it comes to server locations. You can choose 1 out of 4 data center locations (Lithuania, Netherlands, USA, and Singapore) with a shared plan.
In a nutshell, Hostinger’s performance is very trustworthy and speedy.
Taking everything into account, Hostinger is a value-packed hosting provider. Not only does it cost as little as a cup of coffee, but it also delivers great performance. The best cheapest WP Engine alternative – period.
- Lowest shared hosting prices on the market
- Perfect 100% uptime
- Speed oriented tools like LiteSpeed Web Server and LiteSpeed cache
- No domain with an entry plan
|Features||Free SSL, daily backups, CDN, native management panel|
|Best for||Premium solution for small-to-medium business websites|
If you’re looking for a WordPress-oriented provider specifically, SiteGround is a very solid candidate. The provider is a little more premium option that truly deserves each and every dollar. The provider considers ease-of-use, speed, and security as essential rather than a perk, meaning you can expect a fast and smooth experience.
But what SiteGround’s aspects really make it a good WP Engine alternative?
- You can use any CMS (Content Management System) with SiteGround, but it does focus the most on WordPress. The main USPs of SiteGround are WordPress features like its preinstalled and customizable caching solution, WP site migration plugin, and staging.
- No matter if you’re an experienced user or a newbie, you will find SiteGrounds native management panel very easy to use. Not only is it well organized and modern-looking, but it’s also slightly customizable. You can make it easy to access your most often visited settings.
- SiteGround is highly performance-focused. The host is always updating its hardware and software so your site could perform smoothly. More so, SiteGround has developed its own Ultrafast PHP setup, which decreases server response time and enhances the overall performance.
- The provider takes security measures seriously. All its plans come with a free SSL, automated backups, AI anti-bot system, web application firewall, and real-time monitoring system.
All in all, even though SiteGround is considered premium in terms of shared hosting, its prices are significantly lower than WP Engine’s. Yet, the tools included are just as good. The only negative point about SiteGround is its fairly limited server resources. But the same can be said about WP Engine, too.
SiteGround has 3 web hosting plans – StartUp ($2.99/mo), GrowBig ($4.99/mo), and GoGeek ($7.99/mo).
All plans come with a managed WordPress, caching, unmetered bandwidth, free SSL certificate, free CDN, and daily backups. Moreover, However, not all plans are meant for sites of all sizes.
- StartUp ($2.99/mo) is ideal for hosting 1 small website with under 10,000 monthly traffic. The 10 GB storage it comes with is more than enough to store such site’s data.
- GrowBig ($4.99/mo) with 20 GB web space and approximately 100,000 monthly visitor capacity, the plan is meant for a single big website or multiple small ones. More so, tools like ultrafast PHP, staging, and collaborations make it a solid option for business websites.
- GoGeek ($7.99/mo) with 40GB storage and 400,000 monthly visitors mark this plan is a great choice for small-to-medium business websites or even reselling as it also includes a white-label feature.
If you’re planning to run a single website, StartUp is the plan for you. With a yearly billing option, the plan will cost you $47.99 in total. For business needs – GrowBig is the ideal option. Meanwhile, GoGeek boasts all the tools needed for agencies and developers.
Simply put, SiteGround’s performance is great. The provider is reliable, fast, and powerful – everything you’d want your host to be.
To test SiteGround’s performance, I’ve monitored it for close to 2 months. Throughout that time, SiteGround was down for only 7 minutes. This, overall, came up to a near-perfect 99.99% uptime.
The response time is just as great, with the average response time coming up to only 217ms. Just barely a ⅓ of the shared hosting market’s time.
More so, you can rest assured that these results are achievable not only in the US. SiteGround allows you to choose a data center location in either the US, Europe, Asia, or Australia. This way, you can opt for the server that’s closest to your audience.
Overall, SiteGround’s performance is one of the best out there in the shared hosting market. The host is reliable and fast, and that is exactly what you want your site to be.
Considering everything, SiteGround is a more premium option for a fast and business-oriented website. While its prices are slightly higher than others on this list, SiteGround is very significantly cheaper than WP Engine, making it a great WPEngine alternative.
- Very fast and reliable performance
- Data centers in 4 continents
- Business-oriented tools like staging and collaborations
- Cheaper than WP Engine
- Premium prices
- No domain with an entry plan
|Features||Free SSL, domain, website builder, CDN, cPanel|
|Best for||Beginner-friendly WordPress hosting|
Bluehost is yet another well-known provider for WordPress. It is highly favored by beginners and businesses for its ease of use and resource-rich plans. Regardless if you’re a first-time user looking for a personal site or an experienced business owner, Bluehost will have something to offer for all.
Let’s dive in and explore what makes Bluehost so tempting:
- While you can host a website using a CMS of your choice, it primarily focuses on WordPress – this is evident from the fact that it is one of the only 3 providers WordPress itself recommends (alongside SiteGround and DreamHost). More so, all plans include a free website builder that is a part of WP integration.
- The provider really values simplicity. Creating a website with Bluehost takes no more than 5 minutes. The host offers a preinstalled WordPress. More so, the native user interface includes a checklist of things to do when creating a site. This way, your experience is smooth and fast.
- Although the native Bluehost’s panel is very simple and intuitive, you also get to enjoy cPanel integration, if that’s what you’re more comfortable with.
- Bluehost is rather generous with server resources. It offers far more disk space (10GB with WP Engine and 50GB with Bluehost) than WP Engine at a fraction of the price. And, it gives “unmetered bandwidth”, which is technically limited but still a better option to have for a more flexible experience. Additionally, all Bluehost’s plans come with a free domain name, unlike WP Engine.
In sum, Bluehost is a pretty resource-rich and easy-to-use provider. No matter if this is not your first time at the rodeo, you will be pleased to find good plans for a reasonable price.
Bluehost has 4 shared hosting plans – the first 3 of which are sold separately as “Shared WordPress Hosting” with negligible tweaks. The plans cost from $2.95/month (for Basic) to $13.95/month (for Pro), with two mid-level options at $5.45 per month.
Except for the Basic plan, each plan includes unlimited websites, storage, bandwidth, and a free domain. Plus, all the plans include a free SSL certificate. However, there are a few differences, too.
- Basic ($2.95/mo) includes 50 GB SSD space, which can easily store multiple sites’ data. But, sadly, you can host only 1 website on this plan. Anyway, for a basic business website, it’s sufficient.
- Choice and Choice Plus ($5.45/mo) are Bluehost’s mid-level, unlimited (storage, bandwidth, websites, and emails) plans. Both can handle multiple low to medium traffic websites. The main difference between the both is that Choice Plus’s renewal rates are much more expensive, and it comes with a couple more freebies – free automated backups and domain privacy.
- Compared to Choice Plus, the Pro plan ($13.95/mo) offers a dedicated IP address and an additional layer of spam protection for email.
If you’re looking to get an all-in-one package, give the Plus plan a look. While Choice Plus stands at the same promotional price, the renewal rates are much higher. For the lowest monthly price, opt for a 3-year billing period.
Looking at the performance as a whole, Bluehost definitely showed great reliability and speed.
To be honest, one thing that I find a little iffy about Bluehost is the fact that it lacks an uptime guarantee. Any guarantee. However, while this is not ideal, the host does not give a reason to doubt its reliability.
In almost 3 months of examination, Bluehost kept a near-perfect 99.99% uptime. Much better than the standard 99.9% guarantee.
When it comes to response time, the case is pretty similar. Despite a few jumps at the beginning of the examination, the host remained fast, with an average response time coming up to 361ms. Just a half of the market's average time.
One thing to mention is that Bluehost hosts its sites in the US alone. This means that the website will perform best and load fastest to the US located audiences.
All things considered, Bluehost’s performance is very good. I wish it gave an uptime guarantee, but as long as the number is almost ideal, you don’t need to worry about anything.
In summation, Bluehost is a great WPEngine alternative. It performs well and costs a fraction of WP Engine’s plans – something many of you might be looking for.
- User-friendly cPanel integration
- All plans include a free domain and SSL
- Trustworthy uptime and fast performance
- No uptime guarantee
- Servers located in the US alone
|Features||Free domain, SSL, website builder, native management panel|
|Best for||Fast, secure, and reliable hosting for any website|
DreamHost is a pretty well-known and highly reliable hosting provider. It’s a great choice for WordPress-based business-oriented sites. Aside from that, it works seamlessly with other CMSs as well.
Let’s look into what DreamHost has to offer:
- Just like Bluehost, DreamHost is officially recommended by WordPress.org for WordPress hosting. And it’s clear why. DreamHost is highly WordPress-oriented with tools like a 1-click WordPress installation and WordPress-based web builder. However, you are also free to choose any CMS you’d like.
- It offers a 100% uptime guarantee. If there’s any downtime, the host undertakes the responsibility to compensate you with free hosting time.
- DreamHost comes with a native user management panel, and it’s very intuitive. Experienced or not, you will find it easy-to-use DreamHost’s interface.
- The provider also includes very reasonable security tools like domain privacy, web application firewall, and automated backups. These will help you to stay protected against the most common threats.
- Lastly, DreamHost offers very good prices long and short term. The shared starter plan retails for $1.99 with a month-to-month option, $2.95/mo with an annual payment, and $2.59/mo with a 3-year subscription.
In short, DreamHost is a reliable, secure, and resource-rich provider that won’t break your bank. 3-year subscription or not.
DreamHost has 2 low-cost shared plans – Starter for $2.59/month and Unlimited for $3.95/month. Apart from that, it also offers 3 WordPress plans – DreamPress ($16.95/mo), DreamPress Plus ($24.95/mo), and DreamPress Pro ($71.95/month).
The 2 shared hosting packages are great low-cost WP Engine alternatives. Both plans come with a free SSL certificate, domain, pre-installed WordPress, and WordPress website builder.
- Starter ($2.59/mo) includes 1 website, 50GB SSD storage, and unmetered bandwidth. However, an email account is not included – you’ll have to pay an extra $1.67/mo for it. Regardless, the plan will best fit a small personal or business-oriented website.
- Unlimited ($3.95/mo) will suit small and medium business websites, as it includes unlimited websites, storage, and email accounts.
Although the provider is very much WordPress-oriented in its shared hosting plans, it also offers managed WordPress plans too.
For high-traffic WordPress sites, DreamPress plans are excellent WP Engine alternatives. All these 3 cloud-based plans include a pre-installed SSL, on-demand and daily backups, one-click staging, and WP builder.
The only things that vary are storage (from 30GB to 120GB) and the number of monthly visits (from 100k to 1M).
To get the most, for the lowest price I suggest you give Unlimited a look. With an annual billing option, the first installment will round up to only $35.40 in total. However, if a WordPress-specific plan is something you’re after, give DreamPress plans a thought.
DreamHost is not only resource-rich, but it also delivers only the best in terms of performance too.
Sure, I have to be honest, DreamHost’s 100% uptime guarantee sounds a little too good to be true… and it is. 100% uptime is quite impossible as the server has scheduled maintenance, and sometimes the unexpected can happen. So what this guarantee means is that DreamHost will do its best to keep your site live and well as much as possible.
And it does deliver on this promise with a >99.99% uptime. Only 1 minute of downtime in 2 months, pretty good!
Now looking at the response time, even though the blue curve had its ups and downs, the average response time rounded to just 231ms. Taking into consideration that this is not even half of the market average of 600ms, DreamHost’s time is very good.
Lastly, I should mention that DreamHost has its data centers in the US alone. This simply suggests that US audiences will have the speediest experience with your site.
Overall, DreamHost performed very well in terms of performance. Its 100% uptime guarantee is rare to come by for shared hosting, and the response speed really left an impression.
At the end of the day, considering the close to perfect performance and value for money offering, DreamHost truly deserves to be among the best WP Engine competitors.
- 100% uptime guarantee
- Affordable prices no matter the billing term
- Reliable and very fast performance
- No email account with the cheapest plan
- Data centers in the US alone
|Features||Free SSL, CDN, VPS management panel|
|Best for||Powerful VPS hosting for bigger projects|
Cloudways is the only VPS provider on this list of WPEngine alternatives. What makes it stand out the most is the fact that it has a rather unique concept. It resells top VPS hosting provider services but adds its own layer of simplicity by setting up and managing your server for you. This makes VPS hosting much more simple and that much more attractive for any project of a larger scale.
Regardless if you’re a beginner or not, Cloudways makes VPS hosting simple for everyone. Here’s what you can expect from the provider:
- As mentioned before, Cloudways makes VPS hosting simple. How? Well, if you’re not tech-savvy, managing VPS through a command line might be a little too much to some. What Cloudways does is provide you with a simple and intuitive control panel with all the management taken care of for you.
- Since this is VPS rather than shared hosting, the performance is top-notch. Especially when Cloudways offers only the most trusted server providers. More so, such a variety of options also means a variety of server locations. This way, you can get as close to your audience as possible. No more latency.
- Cloudways also includes a one-click installation for the most common apps like WordPress. Alternatively, you can choose any CMS you wish.
- If you’re looking for scalability, Cloudways makes it extremely easy. As the services are billed monthly, you can scale up and down any time you see fit and pay for what you’ve used at the end of the month.
Simply put, if you’re after powerful hosting for projects of a larger scale, Cloudways has a lot to offer. Easy to use, fast, and scalable.
Since Cloudways works with 5 different server providers, there are an abundant amount of plans you can choose from. The cheapest one retails for $7.50/mo, and the prices will go up depending on the server provider or resources you opt for. You can choose from DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr, AWS, or Google Cloud.
In the image, you can see each provider's cheapest plan. This helps to preliminary imagine how they stack up against each other.
Just from the first look, the prices are a little steep, but do remember:
- First, this is a VPS rather than shared hosting. VPS generally tends to be pricier due to the amount of resources and power it packs.
- You are paying for convenience. With Cloudways, you won’t have to worry about things like setup, deployment, and server management. All the complex stuff will be taken care of for you.
- Cludways make it very easy to scale up or down whenever you need. This gives you the freedom of knowing that you can increase your resources if you’re gearing up for a big project.
If you’re planning to run a little less resource-demanding site, the cheapest DigitalOcean plan might be just enough. The billing is only on a monthly basis and comes for $7.50/mo. No increased renewal rates apply.
Performance-wise, Cloudways, just like any other provider on this list, did very well. The host was very trustworthy and speedy. Simple as that.
Throughout 6 months of examination, Cloudways had only 2 outages. Unfortunately, these were pretty significant ones, as the downtime came up to 41 minutes. Regardless, the overall uptime resulted in a very good 99.98%. A little under the promised 99.999% guarantee, but still very satisfactory.
If the uptime was good, the response time is even better. The average response time stands at only 229ms. Knowing that this result is on a bare server with no optimization, Cloudways rightfully scores its place among the fastest shared hosting providers.
Lastly, depending on which server provider you opt for, you can choose from 8 up to 20 different server locations all over the world.
Overall, Cloudways performance does favor its premium pricing.
On the whole, Cloudways is excellent. If you didn’t have any problem with the pricing in the first place. However, having tested the other options, it’s not the best value for money out there.
- Managed VPS hosting
- Reliable and fast performance
- Variety of server providers and server locations
- Premium pricing
- Lower than promised uptime
Best WP Engine alternatives: final recommendations
There are plenty of WPEngine alternatives out there – with most being very noticeably cheaper, yet just as good. Each of the options I mentioned in the list is well-optimized for WordPress too, but can also host any other CMS’s too.
Here’s the summary of each provider on the list:
- Hostinger is the overall best alternative to WP Engine in terms of price, resources, and performance.
- SiteGround is a more premium WordPress-focused hosting option for business websites.
- Bluehost delivers beginner-friendly services and resource-packed plans for any WordPress website.
- DreamHost is a resource-rich hosting provider with many security tools for any small-to-medium website.
- Cloudways is the best managed VPS WP Engine alternative that brings very powerful performance for any larger project.
What’s wrong with WP Engine?
WP Engine offers good performance, excellent security, top-of-the-line support, fantastic features, and an overall hassle-free WordPress experience. However, its very premium pricing, limited resources, and multiple upsell make it imperfect.
1. Premium-level pricing
WP Engine’s base plan costs $22.50/month if you purchase the annual plan. If you look at it objectively from the hosting-essentials standpoint, Hostinger – the first alternative on the list, is head-to-head in almost every aspect at ⅙ of the price. In fact, Hostinger offers more storage and bandwidth compared to WP Engine.
Apart from supreme performance, here are a few features that may justify the price:
- EverCache is WP Engine’s proprietary caching solution. This is meant to increase the site’s loading speed. However, a lot of other providers offer custom caching for a much lower price point.
- When it comes to security, WP Engine truly takes it seriously. The provider has oh-so-many tools integrated into all its plans – SSL, daily backups, server monitoring, and reinforced account security. But to be honest, quite a lot of other providers offer similar if not the same security packages.
- One thing that you can always expect from WP Engine is high-quality customer support. No matter the problem, agents are very professional and quick to help.
- To guarantee the best possible performance, WP Engine uses AWS and Google Cloud infrastructure.
All in all, WP Engine is a premium provider. While tools included are very useful, for many, the pricing could seem unreasonable.
2. Limited resources
When it comes to WP Engine’s plans, they are pretty inclusive. You will definitely get a lot of tools like caching, GIT and SFTP connections, CDN, and many security features.
However, while that’s all good, the actual resources like storage and bandwidth could be much more generous.
Here’s a comparison of WP Engine’s and Hostinger’s cheapest plans:
- The cheapest WP Engines plan ($22.50/mo) comes with 10GB SSD storage and 50GB bandwidth. No free domain.
- Hostinger’s cheapest plan ($2.59/mo) includes 30GB SSD storage and 100 GB bandwidth. No free domain.
Sure, if your site is on the lighter end (no large images, fonts, or videos), WP Engine will be more than sufficient. But if you’re considering having a lot of images on your website, 10GB might be too little.
3. Upselling attempts
Considering the premium prices of each plan, you might think that the checkout page will be clean. Well, well... you will be in for a surprise.
WP Engine’s checkout page is filled with upsells – I would say it’s as much upselling as it gets in the hosting market.
- The first upsell it has for you is Smart Plugin Manager, which basically checks your plugins for updates. Want it? Pay $100/year or more depending on the number of environments.
- Second, you get a $300/year option to enhance security with advanced DDoS protection, WAF, SSL, and CDN. Great security features, but the price is just too much,
- After that, there’s an “Additional sites” option. If you want to host more site(s) than mentioned (in the plan description), you must pay $200/site/year. That’s almost the same price as the plan itself.
- The last upsell is a Genesis Pro license for $300/year. This is a block-based page-building tool.
Overall, WP Engine tries to sell you 4 add-ons. I repeat, 4! And the cheapest being at $100...
Everything considered WP Engine is not perfect. Its pricing scheme is the primary problem. Meaning, if you are looking for a value-for-money hosting provider, or are on a tight budget, it’s inevitable you will search for cheaper WP Engine competitors.
Best WP Engine alternatives FAQs
What’s a cheaper alternative to WP Engine?
Cheaper alternatives to WP Engine include Hostinger, Bluehost, Siteground, and many more. The most affordable and best value alternative, though, is Hostinger.
Do I need managed WordPress hosting?
You don’t “need” managed WordPress hosting. That being said, having it will give you slightly better performance. Plus, you won’t need to learn much about managing your website, i.e., it will be perfect for you if you’re not very tech-savvy.
Should I migrate my website to another host?
You should migrate your website to another host if your current host is not good. This includes being good at all the primary hosting factors – resources, performance, support, and overall value.