SiteGround and WP Engine have some differences and some similarities. They are different in how they set up their plans and handle tech support. They are similar in how well they perform.
SiteGround and WP Engine are different companies when it comes to how they are structured. SiteGround has broader reaching plans for all types of hosting and has a huge focus on customer interest. WP Engine has narrow focused plans for only WordPress hoisting and they focus more on performance.
SiteGround was founded in 2003, they have over 50 employees and they are located in Sofia, Bulgaria. They have around 400,000 customers and host around 300,000 domains. Their datacenters are located in USA, Singapore, and in Europe.
SiteGround calls their service, “hand crafted” hosting. Meaning they pay attention to what their customers want and provide it. They will jump in and fix errors on your WordPress site and write patches for security holes if they have to.
WP Engine was founded in 2010, they have over 25 employees, and they are located in Austin, Texas. They have over 110,000 installations. They also have 6 datacenters spread throughout the world.
SiteGround and WP Engine are different in how they price their plans. SiteGround offers low cost, generic hosting plans with lots of features while WP Engine offers a premium WordPress hosting with all essential features.
Discounts for paying upfront
There a few differences between SiteGround and WP Engine’s control panels and user experiences. SiteGround comes with cPanel which has tons of tools and features. WP Engine comes with all the essential WordPress tools.
You’re in luck if you like using cPanel. A lot of hosts use it and so does SiteGround. It has everything you would expect to find on it like FTP accounts, email accounts, domain manager, and MySQL Databases.
When you use cPanel at SiteGround it’s simple to find your way around. At the top of the control panel you will have access to all the main tools. The design is better than the classic cPanel design, but they didn’t move much around.
While it’s nice have more tools a features like SiteGround has with cPanel, some WordPress users only want the absolutely necessary features for hosting WordPress. WP Engine delivers that type of control panel with a minimal design and only essential tools like manage domains, manage CDN, manage backups, use SFTP and manage your database.
Using the control panel at WP Engine is very easy. The design is basic and simple to navigate. I’m not a huge fan of the colors they use because they use a lot of dark green and brown, which look a little dull.
At SiteGround you can use Softaculous or the manual method to install WordPress and cPanel’s tools to manage it. At WP Engine WordPress comes preinstalled and you can use their control panel’s tools to manage it.
Installing WordPress at SiteGround is very easy. You can use the one-click installer, Softaculous or the manual method. Softaculous will install WordPress in a few clicks of the mouse. I prefer to install WordPress using the manual method because you get more control over the database creation.
Managing WordPress at SiteGround is easy. Since they use cPanel you get access to the necessary tools used to manage your installation including FTP access and database management.
I like having the access to all those different tools, but it’s not for everyone. In some cases it’s better to have a simpler control panel like WP Engine’s.
WordPress comes preinstalled at WP Engine. The server environment is built strictly for running WordPress sites, so it’s optimized for easy management and performance.
To manage your installation you can access the files using FTP or manage the database using phpMyAdmin.
In terms of overall speed and reliability both SiteGround and WP Engine do an excellent job. SiteGround is very fast and reliable compared to most other hosts but WP Engine takes the cake for speed and reliability.
For SiteGround I tracked a website for 6 months. The data shows that after 6 months our SiteGround has an average response time of 842ms which is very fast and an average uptime of 99.77% which is very reliable.
When navigating the backend of my SiteGround WordPress site, I can tell a huge difference in speed. It’s easier to navigate and click through the menu because it only takes a second to load. This makes it easier to create and publish content.
I tracked my WP Engine site for 2 years. The data collected is very impressive. It shows that my site has an average response time of 600ms which is extremely fast and an average uptime of 99.95% which is very reliable.
When navigating the backend of WordPress on a WP Engine account, it feels smooth and pages only take second to load. This makes creating content very easy.
SiteGround has better technical support than WP Engine. SiteGround has 24/7 phone, live chat and ticket support. WP Engine offers phone and ticket support during normal business hours, but ask you to only call in emergencies.
If you have any problem with WordPress SiteGround is ready and willing to help you solve it. Part of their mantra is that they hand craft your hosting, which means they deal with you and your site on a personal level.
I have experienced this with their live chat. When you start a live chat session you are given the picture and name of who is working with you. This makes the process feel more personal.
The phone support is friendly and helpful, but you may have a hard time understanding the technicians because they are located in Europe.
The ticket system is outstanding. You will get a reply within 10 minutes from a technician which is very quick for a ticket system.
Getting help with your WordPress site at WP Engine hasn’t been as easy for me. When I used their ticket system it took them a day to write me back. Compared to SiteGround’s 10 minute wait, this is pretty long. I didn’t hear back from WP Engine until after I tweeted to them. After I did that they respond to my question quickly and with very helpful answers.
They have phone support, but I have not used it yet. My guess is that it will be pretty good when you talk to the technicians. The downside is you can only call during business hours and they only want you to call for emergencies.
In my experience both SiteGround and WP Engine have been very good. It’s hard to choose a winner, but I have to choose SiteGround. They have more affordable plans, they have a great control panel, performance is excellent and technical support is awesome.
Steven Johnson, a WP Hosting Reviews senior editor, works from Atlanta and covers all things related to WordPress and Hosting. He graduated from Georgia Tech in Chemical Engineering, has managed hosting companies and now builds WordPress and Joomla Websites for small to medium companies full time.