WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting How To Speed Up Specific Website
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first business to offer handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. How To Speed Up Specific Website
While they have a lot 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 innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, 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 site content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as an entire, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is essential to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a different technique. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. How To Speed Up Specific Website
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous projects given that 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present client 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 companies mentioned. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their discount pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. How To Speed Up Specific Website
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, but the guideline is that the more intricate your website is, the more complicated the services to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text site with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally additional plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
However a sluggish site doesn’t mean that you need a larger, better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, however in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might just need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to stay quick as you grow. There are plenty of services … but either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. How To Speed Up Specific Website
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform due to the fact that 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, 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 data to start filling the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right out of package, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complicated the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that you are complimentary to concentrate on speed aspects that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, however they also offer worldwide information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. How To Speed Up Specific 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 Specific Website
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position 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 actually 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 said, the hard aspect of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never know if the story is due to the fact that they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to try to find access, systems, and understanding, all 3 need a financial investment of cash, time and expertise.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing far better striking all three boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has engaged with actually understood the fine workings of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. How To Speed Up Specific Website
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly since their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the downsides). However they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security basics 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site secure 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 whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something takes place. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a lot of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have assisted clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a typically costly situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. How To Speed Up Specific Website
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, dependable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both of which enable more storage & more gos to (ie, basically as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates disadvantage 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 designer’s) time, their rates is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or designer time repairing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is much better allocated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. How To Speed Up Specific Website
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first customer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a crucial element, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third consumer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s special backend and intend on launching a near-complete site all at once.
They do not have any previous habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. How To Speed Up Specific Website
WP Engine excels not just on present functions however also on developing brand-new, advanced hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even basic web development best practices have changed radically given that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to incorporate finest practices into execution & tasks with designers.
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 very best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous are valid because they merely aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some customers. I don’t utilize them for this site since I do not require a number of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. How To Speed Up Specific Website
All that stated, here are a few of the larger image disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be quite complicated– particularly if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can cause some developers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site available to the public or just not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the general user. How To Speed Up Specific Website
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to see that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a huge deal (when you get past the knowing curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of site checklists to help troubleshoot all sorts of concerns.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just take care of everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. How To Speed Up Specific Website
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for excellent factors, but those restrictions limit adaptability and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted 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 prices is structured permits less adaptability also. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also costly to pay based upon a variety of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor additional 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 permit on an Individual or Company. And this point goes further if your site needs lots of plugins for full performance.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot truly do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up needing to do a painful migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for performance & not needing to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the features you’re getting, you really don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. How To Speed Up Specific Website
Many shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even include a lot of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits needs extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your strategy,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, but what is finest for you based on your objectives, budget, resources & routines.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to fret about hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a fit 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 exactly what you think about their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more liberty/ better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer service.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. How To Speed Up Specific Website