WpEngine VS Hostgator: Which Is Better For Hosting WordPress

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Choosing between WPEngine VS Hostgator can be confusing, not to mention knowing which WordPress hosting company is going to get sold off to the big corporate EIG conglomerate next… If only we had a crystal ball right? In this case, Hostgator has already been sold to EIG a couple of years ago, and if you’re wondering why I don’t recommend Hostgator anymore, see this article. WPEngine on the other hand, is WordPress specific hosting, and they specialize in configuring their hardware to make WordPress load as fast as possible which you probably already know.

So you’re probably thinking… the choice between Hostgator and WPEngine should be easy then right, done deal. Well, not so fast. There are some thing I don’t like about WPEngine that stopped me from going with them that I think you should know. I’ll expand on these later in this article, but the cliffs are WPEngine limits what plugins you can install, isn’t cost effective for beginners at $30/mo for one site, and you can get the same performance cheaper with Lightning Base.


Is Hostgator Managed WordPress Legit?

I used to recommend Hostgator to friends and family, for years and years. I’m actually STILL a customer there, and have had an account with them for over 5 years. But the fact is, I only still have a hosting account with them because I’m too lazy to migrate the sites away to another one of my servers, and those sites still make a few bucks so I keep them up.

So what stopped me from using and recommending Hostgator now?  Well a few things… for one, they raised their pricing to $11.95 a month for the exact same service. So basically, they lure you in with this idea of cheap WordPress hosting, and then after 6 – 12 months jack the price up even though customer support has historically been on the decline ever since they were sold to EIG back in 2012.

So Why All The Good Hostgator Reviews Then?

Some people are still Hostgator fanatics, and love the service. My recent experience over the last 12 months however, has been less than stellar with their shady bullshit tactics. Here’s an example that’s happening to me right now, and is ripping people off.

They are forcing a new add-on product of theirs called Sitelock. Sitelock isn’t necessary, and should be elective, and also costs extra money… not to mention is a major headache when you get emails saying your account has been disabled because the system found possible malware from a hacking attempt or something. This happens over and over every two months, and is a complete joke, waste of time, and a waste of customers money in most cases.

Why I Stopped Using Hostgator

In my case, I have static sites without a database of any kind, and they haven’t been updated in years. There isn’t anything to really go out of date, and if something was hacked, all you’d have to do is look at the log file to see which directories were accessed and revert to backup automatically.

But out of fear, by emailed customers telling them their sites may potentially be hacked and need to be reviewed, a lot of people sign up for this crap so they can be milked for another couple bucks a month for the same service. In truth, the malware scripts running on a Cpanel/WHM console are already there with or without Sitelock. The server node is already being policed, but they damn sure don’t tell you that.

This pissed me off enough to stop using them for any new project, and also stop recommending them to friends and family… simply because I don’t want them to get ripped off. If you’re looking for a budget wordpress host, go with Siteground instead.


What Is Wp Engine Really?

WpEngine is a WordPress optimized architecture specifically designed to speed up WordPress. They make it sound a little proprietary, but you can get the exact same speed results from other WordPress hosts as well, they just don’t have as good of marketing as WPEngine. (for instance, I use Lightning Base for some things, which is just as fast, and cheaper)

By limiting customers actions, you’re able to deliver a “superior” environment for WordPress to run. This is the speil anyway, and by protecting customers from running wordpress plugins and themes that create massive overhead, they’re able to keep their servers lean and mean. This is true for beginners, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, this may be beneficial.

But how many people stay beginners for ling though? Most people are off and running with their blogs, and making good money within their first year or two. So when it comes time to embed some custom ad code, or use a third party ad companies WordPress plugin and you can’t, do you really want to have to migrate your site to another host just because some company says it’s “best practices” not to run something that you need?

Why I Didn’t Go With WPEngine For Clever Leverage

That is what stops me personally from using WpEngine altogether, and coming from dedicated services and virtual machines, I never want anyone telling me what I can and can’t install on a hosting account. That said, I also think it’s overpriced for what you get, considering all the limitations.


Bullshit WPEngine Reviews & Old Hostgator Feedback

So it should be no secret I make money from affiliate marketing. In fact, I was able to build my blog into a full time income partly because of affiliate marketing, which I talk about here and here. However, making bad recommendations is one of the fastest ways to lose all of your credibility, and I personally have suffered through horrendous experiences with web hosting companies, dealing with problems, sites going offline, and on and on.

If you want to see my experience in the industry, you can read about the 33 web hosting companies I’ve used, over the last 8 years, hosting over 400 websites, and owning over 2,200 domains.

Point being, I would make a LOT more money if I recommended WPEngine, because they pay out $200 per sale on new customers. But I can’t do that to you guys, because I personally don’t believe they’re they best fit for most people.

They’re kind of an in between plan for one thing… meaning, for someone just starting out and wants to get started making money blogging, they normally don’t have a lot of money to spend. So spending $30/mo to host one website when they have no traffic and no income, doesn’t make any sense. They could better use that money to get a picmonkey subscription or something, that will help them with another task for their blog like making cool graphics.

Then once their making decent side income (like over $500/mo), it’ll be time to upgrade and you’d probably want to upgrade to a bigger VPS than that anyway. So I don’t really see the point.

Fake WPEngine Reviews

Back to the reviews of WpEngine that you see on almost EVERY WordPress hosting affiliate sites… Because they have the highest payout in the industry like I mentioned above, it’s very common for bloggers to recommend them very highly. (and in a lot of cases, they are not even users of the service)

Of course fake is subjective, and I’m sure this idea of structuring hosting reviews in order or potential referral commission income will likely ruffle some of the wrong feathers… but think about it:  all I’d have to do is reword this article to promote WPEngine as the next best thing since sliced bread for hosting wordpress, and I’d make 3 – 5 times as much money just because they pay more. It would be a disservice to you guys for sure, but it really would be that easy.

You don’t think the web hosting review sites are doing it?  Call it fake, dishonest, whatever, I don’t like it… and it’s running rampant in the industry just so people can make a few extra bucks.


The Bottom Line


Verdict: The Best Inexpensive WordPress Hosting For Blogs Is…

I’m not sure if most readers of this article are looking for a cheap wordpress host, or a high end WordPress specific architecture, with built in server side caching, a cdn, and performance based needs. If you guys will let me know in the comments what you were looking for when you stumbled on this article, that would help a lot!

For beginners on a tight budget, Siteground or Bluehost will be a better fit than WPEngine. You can always graduate to faster hosting later on when you need it, but there’s no reason to waste money on higher end hosting when you don’t have any traffic. Save the extra bucks while you’re building up your blog to a few hundred bucks a month, and use the funds for other things you’re going to need.

Go With WPEngine If

If you have social media accounts that are already booming, and you’re starting a blog and need to handle existing traffic but don’t know what to do, then this would be a good fit for WPEngine. They’ll make sure you’re blog loads snappy and can handle a decent amount of traffic right off the bat, even if you have no idea what you’re doing. You should be able to generate enough money from that traffic to more than cover the extra cost of your hosting in this case, so it would be a good fit.

Alternatively, not as well known but just as good of an option in my opinion, is Lightning Base. I make hardly any money recommending them, but I use them myself and they have great support.

Go With Siteground Or Bluehost If You’re A Beginner On A Budget

Go with Siteground for a fast loading WordPress blog, while staying on a beginner budget.


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Join the conversation on Matt's case studies at CleverLeverage.com as he discovers and tests new ways to earn more income, learn alternative investment strategies to net >10%, maintain good health, and turn passions into online businesses.

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