WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Magento Website Speed Up
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to offer handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Magento Website Speed Up
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all vary in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of handled 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 uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as a whole, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it’s important to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, usually with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a various method. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Magento Website Speed Up
I’ve used WP Engine for numerous projects because 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their promo pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Magento Website Speed Up
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your site is, the more complex the options to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
But a slow website does not imply that you need a bigger, much better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might just need to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain quick as you grow. There are plenty of options … 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 concerns. They have actually customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the exact chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Magento Website Speed Up
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to start filling the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or complicated the site gets.
*Keep in mind 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 might get with other services given that you are free to focus 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 supplies an incorporated CDN, however they likewise provide international information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Magento Website Speed Up
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Magento Website Speed Up
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among 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 business has grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough thing about consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never know if the story is since they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to try to find access, systems, and understanding, all three need an investment of loan, time and knowledge.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site 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 connected with actually knew the fine workings of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of a number of issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Magento Website Speed Up
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically since their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). But they appear to know that support is core to their worth 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 suppliers.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials 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 although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to 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 finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something takes place. Considering 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 likewise works closely with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have assisted customers who have actually been. It’s aggravating, laborious & a typically costly situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Magento Website Speed Up
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, dependable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same rate from InMotion. And if you are just beginning 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 lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k check outs each month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or designer time repairing issues.
Essentially, if your time is better designated far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Magento Website Speed Up
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing fundamental 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 having to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a crucial factor, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup website owner that has the budget and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s special backend and intend on launching a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any prior routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make promises and provide support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this review revision. Magento Website Speed Up
WP Engine stands out not just on current features but also on creating new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have altered significantly since I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web advancement to incorporate best practices into implementation & projects 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many are valid because they just aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some customers. I don’t use them for this site since I do not require many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Magento Website Speed Up
All that said, here are some of the larger image downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be rather complicated– specifically if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the special backend can result in some designers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open to the general public or simply not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they currently do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe finest practice for the general user. Magento Website Speed Up
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to enjoy that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (once you get past the learning curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website lists to help repair 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.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply look after everything.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. 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. Magento Website Speed Up
WP Engine’s proprietary 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 have to be rather consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for good reasons, however those restrictions limit adaptability and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured permits less flexibility as well. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, however it’s also expensive to pay based on a number of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element additional hosting expenses 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 deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes further if your website needs lots of plugins for complete performance.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are planning to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot really do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending for efficiency & not needing to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally logging in regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Magento Website Speed Up
Many shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable 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 rather a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even consist of a lot of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly 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 rate. You can’t utilize them to expand the expense of your strategy,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are looking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is an expensive option, especially compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best total, but what is finest for you based on your objectives, budget, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a fantastic service with a strong item. Their pricing 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 designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to stress over hosting concerns.
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 consider their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more liberty/ much better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Magento Website Speed Up