WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting How To Speed Up Ecommerce Website
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to provide managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. How To Speed Up Ecommerce Website
While they have lots of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all vary in services supplied. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as an entire, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is very important to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, generally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a various technique. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. How To Speed Up Ecommerce Website
I have actually used WP Engine for different projects considering that 2012. I do not use them for my main websites today (see conclusion), however I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” 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 To Speed Up Ecommerce Website
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complex your site is, the more complicated the solutions to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text website with a few standard plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically extra plugins, customized style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a slow site doesn’t mean that you require a bigger, much better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may simply have to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to stay quickly as you grow. There are lots of services … but either you or a developer must execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and identify the precise chokepoint to get your website moving. How To Speed Up Ecommerce Website
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to begin filling the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that method no matter how big or intricate the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services given that you are totally free to focus on speed elements that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an integrated CDN, but they likewise offer global data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. How To Speed Up Ecommerce Website
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support How To Speed Up Ecommerce Website
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a big 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 grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough thing about client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever know if the story is since they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to search for access, systems, and understanding, all three need a financial investment of cash, time and expertise.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all three boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the website through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has interacted with really knew the fine functions of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. How To Speed Up Ecommerce Website
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically because their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the downsides). However they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials are relatively 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. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something takes place. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a lot of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security companies on code evaluations 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 actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have helped clients who have been. It’s aggravating, tedious & an usually expensive situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. How To Speed Up Ecommerce Website
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and just up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both of which permit more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of little 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 important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is much better assigned away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. How To Speed Up Ecommerce Website
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on development & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing fundamental site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a key aspect, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup site owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s special backend and plan on introducing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They do not have any prior routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. How To Speed Up Ecommerce Website
WP Engine excels not just on current functions but likewise on creating new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented new designer features that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even general web development best practices have actually altered significantly since I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know enough web development to integrate best practices into implementation & tasks with designers.
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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of stand because they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some clients. I don’t utilize them for this website because I do not need much of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. How To Speed Up Ecommerce Website
All that stated, here are some of the larger picture disadvantages of utilizing 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 complicated– especially if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can lead to some developers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website open to the public or just not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice customers than they currently do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the general user. How To Speed Up Ecommerce Website
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to view that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (once you get past the learning curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website lists to help troubleshoot all sorts of issues.
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 that they do all this. And in most cases, support will just take care of everything.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. How To Speed Up Ecommerce Website
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or very genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, but those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured enables less versatility also. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to aspect additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish 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 enable on an Individual or Company. And this point goes further if your website requires lots of plugins for complete functionality.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t really do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
In any 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 generally spending for performance & not having to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. How To Speed Up Ecommerce Website
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even consist of a lot of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits needs additional costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your plan,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are looking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, however exactly what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a great service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to stress over hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more liberty/ much better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. How To Speed Up Ecommerce Website