WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting How To Speed Up Your Website Php
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to supply managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. How To Speed Up Your Website Php
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all differ in services provided. Some merely 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 managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is necessary to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a different technique. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. How To Speed Up Your Website Php
I’ve used WP Engine for numerous tasks because 2012. I don’t use them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer service.” 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 Your Website Php
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, but the general rule is that the more complex your website is, the more complicated the solutions to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text site with a couple of standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with an economical shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally extra plugins, custom-made style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish site doesn’t indicate that you require a larger, better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however sometimes it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain quick as you grow. There are lots of solutions … but either you or a developer must execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have tailored servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. How To Speed Up Your Website Php
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra 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 information to start loading the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right out of package, and have it stay that method no matter how big or complex the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at 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, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, but they likewise provide international information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. How To Speed Up Your Website Php
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 Your Website Php
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. 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 one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult aspect of consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never 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 company treats support as an investment or a cost.
I want to search for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need an investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has connected with really knew the great workings of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of a number of problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. How To Speed Up Your Website Php
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially since their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the downsides). However they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals are fairly 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 commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the responsibility 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 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 whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. 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 primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a generally expensive situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. How To Speed Up Your Website Php
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which permit more storage & more visits (ie, basically as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k visits per month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates drawback 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 designer’s) time, their pricing is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes every 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 visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire 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 fixing problems.
Generally, if your time is better designated 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 a financial investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. How To Speed Up Your Website Php
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine appears to be a suitable 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 first customer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard site 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 have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is an essential aspect, specifically having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third consumer type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on releasing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They do not have any prior habits or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once 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 kind of consumer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine knows 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, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this review modification. How To Speed Up Your Website Php
WP Engine excels not only on existing features however likewise on developing new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new developer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even general web development best practices have changed significantly given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to incorporate best practices into application & 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 very best fit for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And lots of are valid due to the fact that they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some customers. I do not use them for this website due to the fact that I do not require a number of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. How To Speed Up Your Website Php
All that said, here are a few of the larger image drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be quite complicated– specifically if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the special backend can cause some developers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website open to the public or merely not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more novice clients than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever explain finest practice for the general user. How To Speed Up Your Website Php
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to view 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 really going to be a substantial offer (when you surpass the knowing curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site lists to assist 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.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply look after it all.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. How To Speed Up Your Website Php
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin habits for good factors, however those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured allows for less versatility as well. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also expensive to pay based on a number of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to aspect additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want 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 a Personal or Business. And this point goes further if your website needs many plugins for complete functionality.
The very same chooses 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 utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot truly do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up having to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for efficiency & not having to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based on the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually visiting regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. How To Speed Up Your Website Php
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even include a number of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits requires extra costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to spread out the expense of your plan,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is an expensive option, especially compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, but what is finest for you based on your objectives, budget, resources & practices.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to stress over hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think of their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more freedom/ much better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. How To Speed Up Your Website Php