- PCI compliance. If you want to process any credit card data of your online store customers, you need a PCI compliant server (required by law). Alternatively, you can use an external payment service, in which case, PCI compliance isn’t required.
- Dedicated IP and an SSL certificate. The pair authenticates your store on the web. It means that only you are using a certain web address.
- Uptime. The more uptime your web host can guarantee, the better. After all, every minute of downtime means profits lost.
- Good server specs. Shopping carts can consume valuable server resources quite quickly. That’s why you need good RAM and fast disks.
- Data center location. The more choice you have regarding your main data center’s location, the better.
- Good security mechanisms and policies. Your web host has to have some security policies in place, along with mechanisms implemented that will either block attacks or help you recover as quickly as possible.
WP Engine e-commerce hosting review: in a nutshell
WP Engine is a hosting platform optimized for WordPress. This means that the main option you have, when it comes to e-commerce, is to use the WordPress + WooCommerce combo. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to install other e-commerce platforms, like Magento or OpenCart.
That being said, if you don’t like WooCommerce for some reason, you can experiment with other e-commerce WordPress plugins as well. WP Engine doesn’t prevent you from doing so.
When it comes to the individual plans, you have:
- Standard shared plans called Personal, Professional, and Business. The inner workings of the three are the same, the only difference is in the number of sites you can install simultaneously, the traffic they can handle, and the disk space you get. Despite the name, those plans can still be a good choice for users who want to test the waters, see what managed WordPress hosting is about and how it relates to their business.
- Dedicated virtualization plans called Premium. Those plans are a step up from the basic ones. The hosting environment, while still based on virtualization, is reserved solely to a single customer. You can have multiple websites running on this setup and handling a load of traffic. You also get increased CPU/disk/memory performance, the ability to run security and performance testing, and better overall scalability (you can run multiple servers per account).
- Enterprise plans. Advanced plans for really heavy setups with huge traffic and multi-install environments. In short, nothing you should be concerned with as a small- to mid-sized e-commerce store owner.
Features in WP Engine e-commerce hosting
Here’s what you get with WP Engine hosting for e-commerce:
- Dedicated IP address included for Business plans and up ($5 / month for Professional plans).
- 10-30GB of disk space on the shared plans. 100-300GB on Premium.
- Multi-tenant Xen virtualization for the shared plans. Xen virtualization for single user on Premium.
- GeoIP enabled – you can serve content to visitors dynamically based on their geographic location.
- 24/7 phone support for Professional plans and up.
- Data centers available in the US, Europe, and Asia.
- You can have up to 150 WordPress installs on the Premium plan.
Who’s WP Engine e-commerce hosting best suited for?
As I said earlier, WP Engine is a WordPress-specific web host. This means that whatever e-commerce store you build, it needs to be based on WordPress in some way. The most popular solution for that is WooCommerce (check our review of the platform).
But even then, WP Engine doesn’t seem to offer a lot to e-commerce users that don’t want to spend a fortune on their hosting bill. The first e-commerce-optimized hosting plans start under the Enterprise umbrella, and you don’t even get a public price tag on those – you have to contact WP Engine for a quote.
If you want to stay under the $100 / month mark on your hosting bill, your only options are WP Engine’s Personal and Professional plans. And don’t get me wrong here, please, those plans will surely handle WooCommerce installation with no trouble, but they lack some valuable e-commerce features:
- For once, you don’t get an SSL certificate included. You have to buy it from WP Engine separately or from a third party. Starts at $49 / year.
- They also don’t talk much about the PCI compliance of their servers – instead, they encourage you to use external payment processors (like PayPal or Stripe) to handle all payments. That way you don’t need PCI compliance.
In the end, it’s hard to recommend WP Engine for standard e-commerce projects where the business isn’t a huge operation yet (at which stage they could use the Enterprise plans). Also, the fact that it works only with WordPress means that you’re stuck with e-commerce plugins as your main online store platform.
Taking all that into account, consider WP Engine only if you’re already running a WordPress site that’s important for your business, and you only want to include an e-commerce component as a side project. For e-commerce-driven businesses, and especially those not relying on WordPress, there are other solutions on the market.
WP Engine e-commerce hosting review: pricing
There are three main hosting types available with WP Engine. The first type – standard plans – is divided into three separate offerings of its own:
The other two types – Premium and Enterprise – are individually negotiated for every customer according to their needs.
When it comes to the standard plans, running an e-commerce store on anything other than Professional or Business doesn’t make much sense. It’s only those two plans that allow you to have a dedicated IP address (free with Business) and an SSL certificate.
Preferably, if you have the budget, you should opt for the Business plan. The downside here is the price tag – $249 / month.
If you need something more affordable, check out our other reviews for SiteGround or InMotion e-commerce hosting.
How to set up WP Engine e-commerce hosting
One of the pros of working with WP Engine is their simple sign-up process, and then the site installation.
The team at WP Engine will also help you with migration, in case you want to work with an already existing site.
Should you have any questions related to some e-commerce-specific aspects, the support team will be able to help you out as well (as long as your questions relate to WordPress).
Phone support and ticket support is available 24/7. For live chat support, though, you’ll have to reach out between 6AM-8PM CT.
Review conclusion – is WP Engine e-commerce hosting the right host for your e-commerce store?
Pros of WP Engine e-commerce hosting
An optimized WordPress environment that’s ready to handle any scale of operations.
Offers managed hosting plans, which means that the day-to-day management and maintenance of the servers are handled by WP Engine.
Data centers in the US, Europe, and Asia.
Serve content to visitors dynamically based on their geographic location with GeoIP.
24/7 phone support.
Cons of WP Engine e-commerce hosting
SSL certificates are not included out the gate. You have to buy them separately.
Works only with WordPress, so you can’t build your e-commerce store on top of any other platform.
Live chat support available only within limited hours.
Overage charges can get really expensive (even $1 per 1000 views above your stated limit).