WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting How To Speed Up Personal Website
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to offer handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. How To Speed Up Personal Website
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all vary in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as an entire, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is very important to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a different technique. This review will 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 To Speed Up Personal Website
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various projects because 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main websites today (see conclusion), however I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer 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 Personal Website
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your site is, the more complex the services to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text site with a few standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with an economical shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom-made theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
But a sluggish website doesn’t suggest that you require a larger, better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, however sometimes it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may just need 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 a lot of solutions … but either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with very aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and recognize the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. How To Speed Up Personal Website
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a tailored caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin loading the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that way no matter how big or complex the site 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 might get with other services given that you are complimentary to focus on speed elements that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, but they also provide worldwide data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. How To Speed Up Personal 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 Personal Website
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has 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 tough aspect of customer 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 to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to look for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three require an investment of money, time and expertise.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the website via chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has engaged with really understood the fine operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. How To Speed Up Personal Website
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,especially since their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). 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 entire Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials are relatively straightforward:
- 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally 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. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped clients who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a normally expensive circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. How To Speed Up Personal Website
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both which enable more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k visits each month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time repairing problems.
Generally, if your time is better designated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. How To Speed Up Personal Website
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of customers 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 developers and designers who want to concentrate on development & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous fundamental site 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 needing to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that process take place. The phone support is a key aspect, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s special backend and plan on releasing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They do not have any previous habits or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, numerous of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. How To Speed Up Personal Website
WP Engine excels not only on current functions but likewise on creating brand-new, innovative hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new developer features that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have altered radically since I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to integrate finest practices into execution & jobs 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And many stand due to the fact that they simply aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some consumers. I don’t use them for this site due to the fact that I do not require much of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. How To Speed Up Personal Website
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger image downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be rather complicated– especially if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they likewise don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the distinct backend can result in some developers making errors ranging from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website open up to the general public or simply not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice clients than they currently do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the basic user. How To Speed Up Personal Website
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to enjoy that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a big offer (once you surpass the knowing curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website lists to help fix 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 most of the times, support will just look after it all.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. How To Speed Up Personal Website
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is also 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 consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin behavior for good factors, however those restrictions limit versatility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured enables less adaptability too. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise expensive to pay based on a variety of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to aspect extra hosting costs 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 enable on an Individual or Company. And this point goes further if your site requires many plugins for complete functionality.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you cannot really do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up needing to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not having to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally visiting regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. How To Speed Up Personal Website
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic 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 dependable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even consist of many of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly 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 expand 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 & serve up your site files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, however exactly what is finest for you based on your objectives, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a fantastic service with a solid product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to worry about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more freedom/ much better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer service.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. How To Speed Up Personal Website