WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Speed Test
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to supply handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Speed Test
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all differ in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as a whole, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is very important to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a different method. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engine Speed Test
I’ve utilized WP Engine for numerous tasks because 2012. I don’t use them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their discount pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wp Engine Speed Test
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your website is, the more complicated the solutions to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a few fundamental plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally additional plugins, custom theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish website does not indicate that you require a bigger, better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, however often it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may just need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to remain fast as you grow. There are lots of options … however either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and identify the precise chokepoint to get your website moving. Wp Engine Speed Test
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to start loading the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or complex the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are totally free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, but they likewise offer international information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Speed Test
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Speed Test
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has actually grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard aspect of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never know if the story is because they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need a financial investment of loan, time and knowledge.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the site by means of chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has engaged with actually understood the fine functions of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Speed Test
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically due to the fact that their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the downsides). However they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials are fairly uncomplicated:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website protected is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually helped clients who have actually been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a normally costly circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Speed Test
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which allow for more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k visits each month on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or developer time repairing problems.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Speed Test
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is irritated at having to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process occur. The phone support is a key element, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup website owner that has the budget and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on releasing a near-complete site all at once.
They do not have any previous habits or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, so many of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wp Engine Speed Test
WP Engine stands out not just on existing functions but also on producing new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually changed significantly because I began observing the market *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand adequate web development to integrate best practices into implementation & projects with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of stand since they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some consumers. I don’t use them for this site since I do not need many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Speed Test
All that stated, here are a few of the larger photo downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be rather made complex– specifically if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can cause some developers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site available to the general public or merely not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more novice clients than they currently do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss finest practice for the general user. Wp Engine Speed Test
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to watch that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a substantial offer (as soon as you surpass the learning curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site checklists to help troubleshoot all sorts of concerns.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply take care of all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Speed Test
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods terms of minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin habits for good factors, however those restrictions limit adaptability and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured enables less flexibility also. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a number of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to element extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Business. And this point goes even more if your website requires numerous plugins for full performance.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot actually do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for performance & not having to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Wp Engine Speed Test
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even consist of many of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits requires extra expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, especially compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, however what is best for you based upon your goals, budget, resources & routines.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a strong product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to worry about hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see what you think of their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more freedom/ much better prices than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer support.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wp Engine Speed Test