WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting How To Speed Up Squarespace Website
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first business to offer managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. How To Speed Up Squarespace Website
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name recognition and innovative features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all differ 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 managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as an entire, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is very important to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a different technique. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. How To Speed Up Squarespace Website
I have actually used WP Engine for different jobs given that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business mentioned. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying client or specialist to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” Here is their promo pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. How To Speed Up Squarespace Website
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, but the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more complex the services to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with an affordable shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically 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 website doesn’t mean that you require a bigger, better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision 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 might simply have to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain quick as you grow. There are plenty of services … however either you or a developer must execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually customized servers with extremely aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the exact chokepoint to get your website moving. How To Speed Up Squarespace Website
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough information to start packing the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or complex the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are totally free to focus on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, but they likewise supply international data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. How To Speed Up Squarespace 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 Squarespace Website
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed 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 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 company has actually grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard feature of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never know if the story is because they spoke with 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 deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to search for access, systems, and understanding, all 3 need an investment of money, time and knowledge.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site through chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has interacted with really knew the great functions of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of several issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. How To Speed Up Squarespace Website
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support issues,especially because their customized 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 needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials are relatively simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically 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. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a lot of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a typically expensive circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. How To Speed Up Squarespace Website
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and just up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the 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 check outs (ie, essentially as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k check outs each month on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup 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 whole 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 whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time fixing concerns.
Generally, if your time is better allocated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. How To Speed Up Squarespace Website
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on development & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate 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 & client support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a crucial factor, particularly being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup website owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s special backend and plan on launching a near-complete site simultaneously.
They don’t have any previous routines or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. How To Speed Up Squarespace Website
WP Engine excels not just on current functions however also on creating new, innovative hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new developer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web development finest practices have altered significantly because I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to integrate finest practices into implementation & tasks with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And numerous stand because they just aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some clients. I don’t utilize them for this website because I do not need a lot of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. How To Speed Up Squarespace Website
All that stated, here are some of the bigger picture drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be rather complicated– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can result in some developers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open up to the general public or merely not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they already do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the basic user. How To Speed Up Squarespace Website
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed 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 customized backend isn’t really going to be a substantial deal (as soon as you surpass the learning curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site checklists 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 they do all this. And in many cases, support will just take care of everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. How To Speed Up Squarespace Website
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit more to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin behavior for excellent reasons, but those restrictions limit adaptability and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized websites, 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 up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured permits less versatility as well. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s also pricey to pay based upon a number of visits.
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 element 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 website on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Service. And this point goes further if your website needs numerous plugins for full functionality.
The 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.
Furthermore, you can’t actually do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for performance & not needing to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. How To Speed Up Squarespace Website
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out previously that does not even consist of much of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits requires extra costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to spread out the expense of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, but what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a terrific service with a solid product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to stress over hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see what you think of their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more flexibility/ much better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. How To Speed Up Squarespace Website