WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting How To Speed Up My Website Loading
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to provide managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. How To Speed Up My Website Loading
While they have lots of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all differ in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, 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 competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as a whole, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it’s important to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, usually with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a various approach. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. How To Speed Up My Website Loading
I have actually utilized WP Engine for numerous tasks since 2012. I don’t use them for my main websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational 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 My Website Loading
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, but the guideline is that the more complex your website is, the more complex the options to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text website with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with an affordable shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically additional plugins, customized theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
However a slow site doesn’t suggest that you need a bigger, better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply have to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to stay fast as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … but either you or a developer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. How To Speed Up My Website Loading
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough data to start packing the page.
Now here is the speed test of a standard WordPress install. WP Engine not only gets strong TTFB times however keep in mind how comparable the First Byte and First Render are to the Unoptimized website.
It’s great to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that way no matter how big or complex the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are 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 supplies an integrated CDN, however they likewise offer global information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. How To Speed Up My Website Loading
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 My Website Loading
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult thing about customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never know if the story is due to the fact that they talked 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 deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I want to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three need a financial investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site via chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has communicated with really knew the fine workings of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after several problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. How To Speed Up My Website Loading
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly due to the fact that their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). However they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals 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 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 duty is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security issues 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 take care of it free of charge.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted clients who have been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a typically pricey scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. How To Speed Up My Website Loading
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same rate 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 allow for more storage & more visits (ie, basically as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is fantastic.
Just running WordPress updates every 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 charge right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost 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 point out any individual or developer time repairing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. How To Speed Up My Website Loading
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first client type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that process occur. The phone support is a crucial element, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a startup site owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on releasing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They don’t have any prior practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this review modification. How To Speed Up My Website Loading
WP Engine excels not just on present features but also on creating new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out new developer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement best practices have actually altered significantly because I began observing the market *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know enough web development to incorporate best practices into implementation & tasks 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 suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And lots of stand due to the fact that they just aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some customers. I don’t utilize them for this website since I do not need much of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. How To Speed Up My Website Loading
All that said, here are a few of the larger photo drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be rather made complex– specifically if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can cause some designers making errors ranging from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev site open to the general public or merely not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they currently do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss finest practice for the general user. How To Speed Up My Website Loading
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to see 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 going to be a substantial deal (once you get past the knowing curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of website checklists to assist repair all sorts of problems.
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 that they do all this. And most of the times, support will just look after all of it.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. How To Speed Up My Website Loading
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or very genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, however those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured allows for less adaptability as well. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, however it’s also expensive to pay based on a number of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to aspect additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Company. And this point goes further if your website needs many plugins for complete performance.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you can’t really do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up having to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail provider 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 usually spending for efficiency & not having to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. How To Speed Up My Website Loading
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out previously that does not even consist of many of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits requires additional costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly 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 can’t utilize them to expand the cost of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a costly option, especially compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, however what is best for you based upon your goals, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a solid item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to fret about hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more flexibility/ much better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. How To Speed Up My Website Loading