WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting How To Speed Up Website Traffic
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to supply handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. How To Speed Up Website Traffic
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name recognition and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer 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 buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater cost 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 a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is very important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a different method. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. How To Speed Up Website Traffic
I’ve utilized WP Engine for numerous jobs since 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who definitely likes 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 upon my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” Here is their promotion 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 Website Traffic
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, however the guideline is that the more complex your site is, the more complicated the services to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text website with a few standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally additional plugins, customized style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a slow website does not suggest that you need a bigger, much better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, however in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might simply need to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to remain quickly as you grow. There are plenty of services … however either you or a developer should implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the exact chokepoint to get your site moving. How To Speed Up Website Traffic
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough data to start packing the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right from the box, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or intricate the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are totally free to concentrate on speed elements that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an integrated CDN, but they also provide global data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. How To Speed Up Website Traffic
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 Website Traffic
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes 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:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business 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 stated, the tough aspect of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never know if the story is since they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require an investment of loan, time and expertise.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the website through chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has engaged with actually knew the fine workings of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. How To Speed Up Website Traffic
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly since their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). But 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 Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However 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 launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, 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 utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something takes place. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a lot of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted customers who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tedious & an usually pricey scenario (even if you are using 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 Website Traffic
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both which allow for more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes on a monthly basis. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or developer time repairing concerns.
Basically, if your time is better assigned far from technical concerns, 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 instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. How To Speed Up Website Traffic
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first client type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is an essential element, specifically 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 wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on introducing a near-complete site all at once.
They do not have any previous practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make pledges and supply 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 concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. How To Speed Up Website Traffic
WP Engine stands out not only on current features but also on creating brand-new, innovative hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new developer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually altered significantly since I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web development to incorporate finest practices into execution & jobs 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 everyone. There are lots 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 merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some customers. I do not use them for this website since I do not require many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. How To Speed Up Website Traffic
All that said, here are some of the bigger photo drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be quite made complex– particularly if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can lead to some designers making errors ranging from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site open to the general public or merely not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice consumers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the general user. How To Speed Up Website Traffic
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to enjoy that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a substantial offer (once you surpass the knowing curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website 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 why they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply look after it all.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. How To Speed Up Website Traffic
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or very real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and cannot 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 habits for excellent factors, however those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For instance, 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 to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured permits less flexibility too. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise expensive to pay based on a variety of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to aspect additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your site needs lots of plugins for complete performance.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you can’t truly do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for efficiency & not needing to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates 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 site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. How To Speed Up Website Traffic
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed earlier that does not even include much of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires 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 tasks or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the cost. You can’t utilize them to expand the expense of your strategy,especially 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 & provide your website files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, but exactly what is best for you based upon your goals, budget, resources & routines.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a terrific service with a strong product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to worry about hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see what you think of their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more flexibility/ much better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer support.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. How To Speed Up Website Traffic