WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Optimize Css In WordPress
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first business to offer handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Optimize Css In WordPress
While they have a lot of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all vary in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
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 take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is essential to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, usually with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a various technique. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Optimize Css In WordPress
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous tasks because 2012. I don’t use them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or specialist to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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. Optimize Css In WordPress
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, but the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more complicated the services to speed become.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text site with a few basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with an affordable shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually extra plugins, customized theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
But a slow site does not suggest that you require a bigger, better server. It does imply that you have 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 particular resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might just need to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to stay quick as you grow. There are a lot of services … but either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and recognize the exact chokepoint to get your website moving. Optimize Css In WordPress
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing 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 one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough information to start filling the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right out of package, and have it remain that method no matter how big or intricate the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that you are free to focus on speed factors that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an integrated CDN, but they likewise provide worldwide data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Optimize Css In 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 In WordPress
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put 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 since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard aspect of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never understand if the story is because they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three require an investment of money, time and know-how.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has interacted with really understood the fine workings of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to expertly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of several problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Optimize Css In WordPress
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly since their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). But they seem to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security essentials are relatively uncomplicated:
- 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that although security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a great deal of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have assisted clients who have been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & an usually expensive scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Optimize Css In WordPress
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which allow for more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k sees monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or designer time repairing problems.
Basically, if your time is much better assigned far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Optimize Css In WordPress
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 suitable for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first customer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on development & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at having to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a key element, specifically having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on launching a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any prior routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these kinds 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, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Optimize Css In WordPress
WP Engine excels not only on existing functions but likewise on creating new, innovative hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new designer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have actually changed significantly given that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web advancement to incorporate best practices into implementation & tasks with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many are valid since they merely aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some consumers. I don’t use them for this site due to the fact that I do not require a lot of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Optimize Css In WordPress
All that said, here are some of the bigger picture drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be quite made complex– specifically if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the distinct backend can lead to some designers making errors ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site open to the general public or just not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they already do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain best practice for the general user. Optimize Css In WordPress
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to see that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a substantial offer (as soon as you get past the learning curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website checklists to help repair all sorts of problems.
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 that they do all this. And in most cases, support will just take care of everything.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t 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 anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Optimize Css In WordPress
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or extremely genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to define 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 certain plugins & admin habits for great reasons, but those restrictions limit versatility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured allows for less flexibility too. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s also costly to pay based upon a variety of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to aspect additional hosting costs 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 handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your site needs lots of plugins for full performance.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t truly do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up needing to do a painful migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not needing to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you truly do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically visiting frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Optimize Css In WordPress
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even consist of many of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the rate. You cannot use them to expand the cost of your plan,especially if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a costly choice, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best total, however what is finest for you based on your objectives, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use an excellent service with a strong product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to stress over hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you consider their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more liberty/ much better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer support.
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. Optimize Css In WordPress