WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Optimize Css Delivery WordPress
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to offer handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Optimize Css Delivery WordPress
While they have plenty of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all vary in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And after that 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. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + performance.
Every competitor 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 conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is very important to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a various approach. 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 “finest fit” for. Optimize Css Delivery WordPress
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various tasks considering that 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a present customer on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “stunning 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. Optimize Css Delivery WordPress
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, but the guideline is that the more intricate your website is, the more complex the services to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a few basic plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a slow website does not mean that you require a larger, better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to stay quickly as you grow. There are plenty of options … however either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have tailored servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Optimize Css Delivery WordPress
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough data to begin filling the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right out of package, and have it stay that method no matter how big or intricate the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are complimentary to concentrate on speed elements that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an integrated CDN, however they likewise supply international data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Optimize Css Delivery WordPress
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Optimize Css Delivery WordPress
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place 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 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 said, the hard aspect of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never understand if the story is since they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to look for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require an investment of cash, time and competence.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the site via chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually interacted with really understood the great operations of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of numerous problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Optimize Css Delivery WordPress
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,especially since their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the downsides). However they seem 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 implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a huge community releasing updates & screening 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that although security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website protected is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something happens. Given that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually helped clients who have actually been. It’s discouraging, laborious & an usually expensive scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Optimize Css Delivery WordPress
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both which permit more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as numerous 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 lots of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup 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 entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or designer time fixing problems.
Generally, if your time is better designated away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Optimize Css Delivery WordPress
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. 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 process, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that process happen. The phone support is a crucial element, especially having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup website owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s special backend and intend on releasing a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any previous practices or customs 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 provide support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, so many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Optimize Css Delivery WordPress
WP Engine excels not just on current functions however likewise on developing new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new designer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have changed drastically considering that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to incorporate best practices into application & tasks with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous stand due to the fact that they just aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this site because I do not require a number of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Optimize Css Delivery WordPress
All that said, here are some of the larger photo downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be rather made complex– particularly if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the special backend can cause some developers making errors ranging from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev site available to the general public or just not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they currently do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever explain best practice for the basic user. Optimize Css Delivery WordPress
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to watch that video several 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 customized backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (as soon as you get past the knowing curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of site checklists to assist fix 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 most cases, support will just take care of everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Optimize Css Delivery WordPress
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or really real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin habits for great reasons, but those bans limit versatility and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured allows for less adaptability too. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also costly to pay based upon a number of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to factor additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes further if your website requires many plugins for full performance.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t truly do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up having to do a painful migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, 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 generally paying for performance & not needing to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the features you’re getting, you truly do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Optimize Css Delivery WordPress
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction 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 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed earlier that does not even include many of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to spread out the expense of your plan,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest overall, however what is finest for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a fantastic service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to stress over hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see what you consider their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more liberty/ better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Optimize Css Delivery WordPress