Updated: July 29, 2019
Are you in the market for a web hosting company? Confused by the myriad of options out there on the Internet? It’s understandable because your website is your connection to the online and off-line world. It connects you to your community, company, clients, and customers.
This comparison of WP Engine vs SiteGround, two popular web hosts, will help you make the best choice.
WP Engine will be a good fit if you are a WordPress user. That is because WP Engine only hosts WordPress sites. Because of this focus, they offer a unique value proposition in combination with aggressive customer support. SiteGround is a web hosting company that began operations in 2003. They have been known for their progressive approach to Internet security. When they recognize that an attack is in progress, their custom security team works quickly to create patches to ensure the security of their client sites.
Let’s take a closer look at these two firms.
SiteGround vs WP Engine: Performance
One of SiteGround’s promises is that they will always bring the latest technology to their customers as quickly as is feasibly possible, and to that end, they have already released PHP 7.3.
Using the latest release of PHP is vitally important because it brings a series of improvements in terms of speed, security, and efficiency.
To understand the difference, consider that PHP 7 is three times faster than PHP 5.6.
We mention this older version of PHP because, according to statistics courtesy of WordPress, a lot of people still use it. In fact, only 4% of WordPress sites run on PHP 7.2, and it’s likely they are all SiteGround customers.
WP Engine offers a mix of servers with some running on PHP 5.6 and some on PHP 7. However, despite this, they still offer excellent performance.
WP Engine has some innovative and high-quality features to improve performance such as Amazon Web Services, Global data centers in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and in the Asia-Pacific region, Proprietary EverCache®.
Moreover, SiteGround is not far behind with their WP SuperCacher, SG Optimizer, and global data centers.
Conclusion: Despite SiteGround having the leg up in terms of the PHP version they are running, our tests have found that both web hosting companies offer comparable performance, so we have to say this one is a tie between SiteGround and WP Engine.
WP Engine Vs SiteGround – Uptime Report
Uptime refers to the percentage of time that a web hosting company is able to keep their servers online and serving websites properly. If a server is down, either all or some of the client websites are down as well. This is not good, because many people rely on their websites to generate sales and leads. Any amount of downtime is lost revenue.
WP Engine has a fanatical desire to try to achieve a perfect uptime record. While this would be almost impossible, they come very close at 99.9%. This is partly due to their No Overselling Policy which makes sure they have enough server space to properly service their customer base.
SiteGround has a 99.9% uptime guarantee which applies to all of their plans, even the more inexpensive ones. They have real-time detection technology which alerts them to any downtime and quickly works to find a solution. They have customized software that automatically repairs any errors that would usually cause downtimes.
Here are the statistics:
- Average 6-month uptime for WP Engine (tested for 10 sites based in different parts of the world): 99.99%. That means your site would possibly be down almost 4.4 hours over six months of service.
- Average last 6-month uptime for Siteground (tested for 10 sites based in different parts of the world): 99.99%. Like a WP Engine, this level of service means that your website could potentially be off-line for just over four hours over six months of service.
It is clear both WP Engine and SiteGround have strong uptime performance numbers. They both clock in at 99.9% uptime.
Below is an interactive graph that will allow you to plug-in different sets of data to see various outcomes for each company.
We wanted to verify our findings, so we conducted a second test using Pingdom. As you can see below, both hosting companies performed admirably, with WP Engine registering a highly impressive 100% uptime, while SiteGround registered an uptime of 99.98%.
★ Winner We consider both SiteGround and WP Engine to be equal in terms of uptime as both companies performed admirably.
WP Engine Vs SiteGround –Speed Test
In the past, website surfers were more patient with slow loading sites. Those days are in the rearview mirror, however, and fast loading sites have become a common expectation. Site speed is becoming so important that Google has incorporated how fast your site delivers web pages as a contributing factor to how well they rank your pages.
WP Engine has servers in the United States, Great Britain, and Japan. Customers can choose which server they want to keep their data on. More importantly, the international network of servers ensures that there are strong redundancies and stability.
SiteGround also has fairly fast-loading websites. This is partially due to their Supercacher which uses custom computations to cache items like images and theme elements that are used repeatedly.
Time to first byte (TTFB) is the metric we prefer to use in determining the quality of a web hosting company’s servers. This is because it eliminates any impact other variables have on the loading speed of a website, such as the size of the site, the type of content, the structure and so on.
It also provides a more accurate comparison between hosting companies because the time it takes a server to deliver the first byte is dependent solely on the quality of the server.
SiteGround’s TTFB was 308 ms, while WP Engine features a TTFB of 466 ms.
While WP Engine’s speed is not bad, SiteGround is better by a small margin, proving they have excellent quality servers.
It should be noted that they also have 5 major data centers across the planet, which also contributes to this great speed because TTFB is also affected by the physical distance that the information has to travel.★ Winner Tie.
Server Quality Test
Server response time refers to the speed it takes for a web hosting company to deliver all of the various elements of a webpage and present them in your browser. Several factors influence server response time and quality of servers is a primary one.
WP Engine has enterprise-quality servers and, unlike some competitors, they also have enterprise-quality system administrators managing their servers. That means you get high-level technology and support no matter which package you purchase.
SiteGround makes a point to keep the load on their servers below industry standards, so there is plenty of power and space to accommodate both temporary bandwidth spikes as well as long-term growth. Because they support a number of open-source software packages, they provide server optimization tutorials for a number of content management systems including Drupal, Joomla, and vBulletin.
A critical aspect for any site is how well the server it’s being hosted on can handle a large amount of concurrent traffic. When lots of people visit a website at the same time, the server has to respond to a larger number of requests. Some servers can handle it and some can’t.
We ran a Load Impact test, which means we sent up to 100 visitors to a test website at the same time. We start with one visitor and slowly grow the number up to 100, measuring response time throughout the test.
WP Engine’s load time remained steady from one visitor to 100 visitors and registered an average of 278.4 ms, which is an excellent load time. You can see the results in the graph below, where the blue line represents the number of visitors, and the green line is the server’s response time.
SiteGround had a few initial spikes and then stabilized, leading to an average of 513.39 ms. What we found surprising was that the spikes were near the beginning of the test, when we only sent a few extra visitors, as you can see in the graph below, where the blue line is the number of visitors, and the green is response time.
★ Winner WP Engine. Clearly, WP Engine offers better load times, and this is because they are customized for WordPress and also offer an inbuild max CDN. The latter ensures that your website is loaded from the closest server possible, which is why they have a lower response time.
The drawback is that you get this higher speed at $29 per month. Conversely, a SiteGround plan costs just $3.95 per month, and if you really want to, you can purchase the max CDN separately to achieve similar load speeds to WP Engine. The additional cost is $20 per month, making it a total of $23.95 per month, which is still less than the cost of WP Engine.
SiteGround vs WP Engine: Security
SiteGround recently rolled out a proprietary anti-bot AI to protect their customers against brute-force attacks.
The new system has been able to block as many as 2 million attacks across all SiteGround servers, making it a resounding success.
It works by monitoring all the servers at the same time and analyzing the data it is gathering. It then takes action automatically to prevent malicious bots from doing harm. Some of the things the system watches for include:
- Number of simultaneous connections to different URLs
- Repeated failed logins
- Known weaknesses to DDoS attacks in different apps
- Request types are known to be connected to DDoS attacks
- Blacklisted user agents – a list that is continuously updated.
What makes the AI incredible is not only that it can act on its own, but that it also learns. So, if the AI thinks an IP is malicious, it will use a Captcha page to determine whether or not it was right in its assumption. If the Captcha is resolved, meaning that a human is on the other end and the system wasn’t being attacked by a malicious bot, the AI whitelists the address and learns from the events to avoid future errors.
Thus, SiteGround now has a “smart” security system that has taken the protection of their customers to a whole new level.
WP Engine also takes good care of their customers in terms of security as their platform monitors traffic in an attempt to identify new types of attacks, as well as checking for certain request patterns from specific locations that could indicate problematic activity. Those attacks are blocked automatically.
They rely on rules, which are constantly evolving. The company claims that they block more than 200 million bad requests per day and they are constantly improving their rule set to stop attacks.
Though WP Engine’s security system isn’t nearly as impressive as SiteGround’s, it’s still a far cry better than the third-party solutions some other web hosting companies rely on.
Winner: SiteGround, their anti-bot AI take the cake without a doubt. No matter how great WP Engine’s rules are, a machine that has the capacity to learn is not only impressive but also much more efficient.
It doesn’t have to eat, sleep, or take toilet breaks, and can spot and learn new patterns faster than any human.
It’s like comparing the Terminator to John Reece – who would you rather have as a bodyguard? We’d pick the Terminator every time, which is why we pick SiteGround.
WP Engine Vs SiteGround – Hosting Plans
WP Engine has a number of hosting plans that range from $29 a month for a Personal plan to enterprise-level plans that accommodate large corporations and organizations. While the entry-level plan is higher in cost than some competitor’s beginning plans, WP Engine offers tremendous value due to their level of service, customer response time and quality of server uptime and speed.
The following table outlines the relevant features, prices, and plans available from both services.
|Regular Price||$ 3.95 per month||$ 5.95 per month||$ 11.95 per month||$ 28 per month||$ 98 per month|
|Plan Name||Start Up||Grow Big||Go Geek||STARTUP||GROWTH|
|Visitors Per Month||10000||25000||100000||25000||100000|
|Free included Domains||No||No||No||No||No|
|Money Back Guarantee||30 days||30 days||30 days||30 days||30 days|
|Server Location||USA, EUROPE AND ASIA||USA, EUROPE AND ASIA||USA, EUROPE AND ASIA||18 Locations||18 Locations|
|Free CDN||Cloudflare base plan||Cloudflare base plan||Cloudflare base plan||MAX CDN premium plan||MAX CDN premium plan|
|Free Site Backup||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free Backup Restore||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Backup On Demand||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free Site Transfer||Yes||Yes||Yes||Using WP Automated Migration PluginLinux||Using WP Automated Migration PluginLinux|
|24/7 Live chat||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|24/7 Phone Support||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Free SSH and SFTP||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now|
SiteGround has Linux-based hosting offers for shared, VPS, cloud and dedicated servers. They have very basic introductory shared plans starting at only a few dollars per month, making them one of the more affordable web hosting companies at this level. Cloud hosting is available in the United States, Asia, and Europe and begins around $70 per month. Their GrowBig feature allows you to restore a website from a backup quickly and easily.
If you want your website to rank well, then it needs to have an SSL certificate. This means that instead of seeing https://inlinehostblogger.com, you’ll be seeing https://inlinehostblogger.com, indicating that your website is encrypted and secure for users to browse.
SSL certificates are essential because not only do they keep your audience safe, but Google has started to penalize non-HTTPS sites. First of all, the search engine assigns them a lower rank, but they’ve also started issuing warnings that these sites aren’t safe, essentially scaring people away from visiting them.
Now, both SiteGround and WP Engine offer free SSL certificates, which is great.
However, if you have a website with multiple subdomains, you need to set up and maintain a different certificate for each subdomain.
So, for example, if your primary domain is yoursite.com and you have subdomains like blog.inlinehostblogger.com, store.inlinehostblogger.com, and forum.inlinehostblogger.com, you’ll need a certificate for each. Managing all these certificates can be a pain, but there is a more effective option.
Wildcard SSL certificates allow you to use one certificate to encrypt a primary domain along with all its subdomains, regardless of how many you have. This makes life much easier.
SiteGround offers a Let’s Encrypt Wildcard SSL certificate with all of their hosting plans. By comparison, WP Engine charges $199 for their RapidSSL Wildcard SSL certificates.
★ Winner SiteGround, It has more affordable plans with choice of CMS other than WordPress.
Steps to High Performance
Enterprise-level companies are finding that with WP Engine they are able to lower their overall spend on technology while increasing their company’s website speed and uptime. WP Engine, while focusing on customer service, has also developed solid, stable technology. For example, during a recent Country Music Association Awards television show in the United States, WP Engine delivered over 71 million page views in less than a day easily and effortlessly.
They have a good customer satisfaction level, although their overall performance lags behind SiteGround.
SiteGround has a good performance record in the open-source CMS and bulletin board worlds. They have quality server response load times as well as an easy-to-use control panel.
WP Engine has established a rapid reputation for customer service. They are able to do this based on a singular focus on the WordPress content management system. By focusing on one CMS, and not spreading their attention to Drupal, Joomla and other products, they have become experts in WordPress hosting and troubleshooting. That concentration helps them answer questions quickly and accurately. Customers can contact them via an online knowledge base, e-mail support, and a toll-free telephone service. In addition, clients can access a chat box that is available on every page of their site.
WP Engine’s customer service goes well beyond their customer support options. For example, their security systems include disk write protection, disk write limitations, script protection and “disallowed plug-in” monitoring. Backups are separate from databases and are stored as tarballs on the Amazon S3 platform. This level of care and secure handling of data shows the level of customer support the WP Engine provides their clients.
We tested the response time of Wp engine and here are the results.
SiteGround has a quality support staff that can be reached by telephone, chat or through the ticket system via e-mail. Customer support is adept at handling redirects, security questions, database installs and other common technical questions related to open source software programs.
We tested the response time of SiteGround here are the results.
Customer support of both SiteGround and Wp engine responded quickly and efficiently. Because of their singular focus on WordPress, and their unparalleled concentration on security, WP Engine ties with SiteGround for the title of best customer support.
★ Winner Tie.
Last Two Years
WP Engine has enjoyed remarkable growth since they exploded on the market four years ago. Just last year, they hired their 80th employee, a sign of rapid maturity and development. They have a stellar reputation of customer service based on the speedy response, helpful personnel and attention to detail.
Other web hosts may charge less, but for entrepreneurs that want a service that is reliable and fast, and backed up by a highly trained support team, WP Engine is the way to go.
WP Engine has continued to innovate since they splashed on the scene in 2010. In only a short period of time, they expanded their employee count to accommodate over 80,000 customers hosting over 500,000 domains.
Recently, WP Engine announced a new WordPress hosting platform called Mercury. It uses a new technology called HHVM which is an open source project developed mainly by the gearheads at Facebook. In terms of speed, it is like comparing a regular family sedan to a NASCAR race car. While this technology has yet to be implemented, it shows WP Engine’s continuing commitment to pushing the boundaries of their value proposition for their clients.
SiteGround enjoys a strong reputation for quality they have developed slowly since they began in 2003. With a focus on Drupal, Joomla and similar content management systems, they are well-known as a quality host for those platforms. They have created their own custom-made programs for accounts isolation, speed optimization, and server monitoring, all of which indicates an ongoing focus on innovation. SiteGround grew rapidly in last 2 years now hosting over 1.8 million websites.
WP Engine elected to make their control panel very simple and plain. It allows clients to manage their own websites with a minimum of technical knowledge. WP Engine is unique in that they have created a staging area so that customers can plan and test their website changes before going “live.” They have taken a professional web developers technique and made it available for everyday clients.
Compared to well-known control panels, WP Engine’s custom-made Control Panel is simple and direct. You do not need to be a web technologist to do fairly involved manipulations of your WordPress database and file structure. For example, you can set up and test new plug-ins and themes without affecting your live website. This “pre-staging” is a high-level function of web developers and WP Engine has made it available to normal users.
SiteGround, on the other hand, was using cPanel until they shifted to their custom panel called SiteTools in 2019. cPanel is more suited to open-source aficionados who know the ins and outs of their particular software packages fairly well. Site Tools is similar to WP Engine’s custom panel with all the tools one click away from the main user interface.
Also, SiteGround comes with their own staging feature just like WP Engine.
SiteGround cPanel: Try Demo★ Winner SiteGround.
WP Engine Vs SiteGround – My Recommendation
This review has covered the extensive details of WP Engine vs SiteGround in the areas of server times, page load speed, site speed, customer support, control panels, and overall performance. Looking at all the data, I recommend WP Engine for WordPress users at WordPress level who can afford their high prices.
It was actually very difficult to pick a clear-cut winner since they are both so close to each other in everything, including performance.
In the end, it all came down to price. SiteGround is a far better choice because, for $4 per month, you get the same level of performance but at a more attractive price than the $29 per month WP Engine charges. There’s also the fact that with WP Engine, you are constrained to WordPress, whereas with SiteGround you can shift to a different CMS or plan at any time.
WP engine has dedicated its entire organization to optimizing WordPress hosting. This is particularly apparent when you look at the development of the WP Engine Mercury platform. This high-speed WordPress hosting environment is the result of WP Engine’s innovative approach to web hosting services.
If you have plans on creating your own site, SiteGround is the complete choice for web hosting.
Noor is a well-known webhosting blogger and industry analyst. Since 2006, he has tested a wide variety of web hosting services and posted the results on his popular blog, InlineHostBlogger.com. For each review, he extensively tests each web hosting company personally, or with his hand-picked team of technicians.