WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting How Does Wp Engine Work
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first business to supply managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. How Does Wp Engine Work
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all vary in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer 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 purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as a whole, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it’s important to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a various method. This evaluation 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 “finest fit” for. How Does Wp Engine Work
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various jobs because 2012. I don’t use them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” Here is their promo 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. How Does Wp Engine Work
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, however the general rule is that the more intricate your website is, the more complicated the services to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a few basic plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually extra plugins, custom-made theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a slow site doesn’t indicate that you need a bigger, better server. It does indicate that you have 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 specific order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may simply need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain quick as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … but either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and determine the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. How Does Wp Engine Work
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough information to start loading the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right from package, and have it stay that way no matter how big or complex the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services given that you are complimentary to concentrate on speed elements that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an incorporated CDN, however they also provide global information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. How Does Wp Engine Work
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support How Does Wp Engine Work
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough thing about consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is since they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I want to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of money, time and proficiency.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the site via chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has interacted with really understood the fine operations of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. How Does Wp Engine Work
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically since their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are fairly simple:
- 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 utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something happens. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted customers who have been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a normally pricey situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. How Does Wp Engine Work
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both of which permit more storage & more visits (ie, generally as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time fixing issues.
Basically, if your time is better assigned far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. How Does Wp Engine Work
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on development & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is an essential element, particularly being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a startup site owner that has the budget and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on launching a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any previous practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this review revision. How Does Wp Engine Work
WP Engine excels not just on existing features but also on producing new, innovative hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new designer features that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have changed drastically because I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to integrate best practices into application & tasks with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And lots of are valid due to the fact that they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some consumers. I don’t use them for this website since I do not require a lot of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. How Does Wp Engine Work
All that said, here are a few of the bigger image disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be quite complicated– specifically if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can lead to some developers making mistakes varying from annoying redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open up to the public or merely not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they already do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the general user. How Does Wp Engine Work
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to see that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a big deal (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website checklists to assist 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.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And in most cases, support will just take care of all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. How Does Wp Engine Work
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for good reasons, however those restrictions restrict flexibility and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured enables less adaptability also. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, but it’s also expensive to pay based on a variety of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or just wish 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 wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes further if your website requires numerous plugins for complete performance.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t truly do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not needing to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. How Does Wp Engine Work
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even consist of a lot of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the cost. You cannot use them to expand the cost of your strategy,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, especially compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best total, however exactly what is finest for you based upon your goals, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a terrific service with a solid product. Their prices 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 unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to worry about hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more freedom/ much better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. How Does Wp Engine Work