WP Engine Announces New Plans: What It Means for Local Publishers

The times they are a changin’. Less than two months after WP Engine announced that it had raised $250 million in funding, the omnipresent WordPress host is changing its plans and pricing structure. In an announcement sent to its digital partners on Monday, WP Engine debuted its WordPress Digital Experience Platform (DXP), along with new plans and add-on features.

WP Engine’s updated plans put a greater focus on customization and flexibility, while taking advantage of the company’s WordPress Digital Experience Platform.

Although prices have gone up across the board, the company is hoping that customers will be persuaded to stick around with add-on features such as GeoTarget and Content Performance, which were previously reserved for customers with higher-end plans. WP Engine is also now offering CDN, for faster content delivery, on all new plans, along with SSL certificates for data encryption, and three environments for development, staging, and production.

Let’s take a closer look at what WP Engine’s plans and pricing changes mean for existing customers.

  • Prices are up across the board. WP Engine’s new plans start at $35 (Startup plan), $115 (Growth plan), and $290 (Scale plan) per month, compared to current pricing at $29 (Personal plan), $99 (Professional plan), and $249 (Business plan) per month.
  • Additional features for clients with Startup plans. CDN and SSL Page Performance Site migration are included for free with WP Engine’s new Startup, Growth, and Scale plans. Previously, CDN cost $19.95 per month for customers with Personal plans.
  • New site limits are in effect. With WP Engine’s new plans, customers with Startup plans are limited to 1 site, customers with Growth plans are limited to 5 sites, and customers with Scale plans are limited to 15 sites. Additional sites can be added on for $20 per site, per month, at any plan level.
  • Some terminology is changing. WP Engine’s new plans include “sites,” which are slightly different from “installs” on the older plans. Each site includes three environments, development, staging, and production. For existing users, the install count will not be changing.
  • More customization features are available at all plan levels. GeoTarget or Content Performance, which were previously reserved for customers on Business plans, are now available as add-on features regardless of plan level.
  • Business plan customers get add-ons at no cost. The current Business plan supports Multisite, GeoTarget, and Content Performance. Once Business plan customers roll into WP Engine’s new Scale plan, these add-ons will be included in their plans at no extra cost.
  • Monthly visitors remain unchanged. WP Engine’s new Startup, Growth, and Scale plans allow for 25,000, 100,000, and 400,000 visitors per month, which is the same as the company’s older plans.

Are these changes significant enough to cause an exodus from WP Engine? Only time will tell. For budget-conscious publishers, WP Engine’s price increase may warrant a closer look at alternative solutions, such as Flywheel. We’ve migrated a handful of independent publishers to Flywheel from WP Engine and have not had any issues. Their free migration service will work for most publishers but some sites that have custom setups may still need a manual migration.

Flywheel is one of a handful of competing WordPress hosting and management solutions with a loyal following among independent publishers. Like WP Engine, Flywheel was custom built for WordPress with fast load times and a streamlined dashboard.

Flywheel’s Single-site plans start at $15 per month (for the Tiny plan) and go up to $75 per month (for the Professional plan).Bulk plans (10+ WordPress sites) range in price from $100 per month (for the Freelance plan) to $250 per month (for the Agency plan). They also offer the option to pay annually for all plans, which comes with a discount for a free month.

Although Flywheel has a smaller price tag, its least expensive plan allows for just 5,000 visitors monthly, compared to 25,000 with WP Engine’s Startup plan. Flywheel also charges $10 per month for CDN for clients with Tiny and Personal plans, whereas WP Engine is now offering a CDN for free. Flywheel also recently added live chat support to rival the 24/7 support offered by WP Engine.

While there is no doubt that WP Engine is still the leader in WordPress hosting, Flywheel’s lower price point makes it a viable alternative for publishers looking to take the leap.

While Flywheel’s Tiny plan is best suited for small sites (5,000 monthly visitors), the Personal plan matches WP Engine’s Startup plan with 25,000 visitors and only costs $30 a month (as opposed to $35 at WP Engine). Other than the Tiny plan, all Flywheel sites come with a free staging site. Every plan also includes free SSL certificates, free nightly backups, free malware removal, and free migrations to the platform. And for anyone developing sites locally, they have Local by Flywheel, a free local development app that connects to their hosting platform to easily push sites live or pull sites down to your local machine.

Tired of getting emails from WP Engine saying you’ve outgrown your current plan and will need to upgrade? Well this is another area where Flywheel wins over WP Engine, check out their page that outlines the policy on overages and their “no penalty” policy: https://getflywheel.com/overages/