WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Optimize Images For Web 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 managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Optimize Images For Web WordPress
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services supplied. 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 separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as a whole, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it’s important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a different approach. This evaluation 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 “best fit” for. Optimize Images For Web WordPress
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various jobs considering that 2012. I do not use them for my main sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies pointed out. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their discount 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 Images For Web WordPress
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, but the guideline is that the more complex your website is, the more complicated the options to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a few basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with an inexpensive shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site does not imply that you need a bigger, better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to remain quick as you grow. There are plenty of services … however either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have actually tailored servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the exact chokepoint to get your site moving. Optimize Images For Web WordPress
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The interesting 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 customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough data to start packing the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complex 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 because you are free to concentrate on speed elements that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, however they likewise provide worldwide information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Optimize Images For Web WordPress
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Optimize Images For Web WordPress
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are actually selling 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 one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has grown & changed 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 tough feature of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever know if the story is due to the fact that they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or an expense.
I like to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three require an investment of money, time and proficiency.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all three boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the website via chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has communicated with actually knew the great functions 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 customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of numerous issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Optimize Images For Web WordPress
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,especially due to the fact that their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). But 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 absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a huge community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals are relatively 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website secure is still ultimately 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 everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something happens. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a great deal of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have assisted customers who have been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & a generally pricey situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Optimize Images For Web WordPress
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just approximately 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 starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both which enable more storage & more visits (ie, basically as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However 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 total worth & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole month-to-month 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 month-to-month fee 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 regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or designer time repairing problems.
Generally, if your time is better allocated far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Optimize Images For Web WordPress
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of clients, 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 want to focus on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is an essential aspect, specifically having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair 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 discovering WP Engine’s special backend and plan on launching a near-complete site at one time.
They do not have any previous routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and supply support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, numerous of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Optimize Images For Web WordPress
WP Engine stands out not only on present functions however also on developing brand-new, innovative hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new developer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web development best practices have actually changed drastically because I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to integrate finest practices into execution & projects 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And numerous are valid since they just aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some customers. I don’t utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not require a lot of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Optimize Images For Web WordPress
All that said, here are some of the larger image disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be rather complicated– specifically if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they likewise don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can result in some developers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website open to the public or just not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice customers than they currently do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe best practice for the general user. Optimize Images For Web WordPress
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to watch that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a big deal (once you surpass the knowing curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety 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.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply take care of it all.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Optimize Images For Web WordPress
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or extremely genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for excellent reasons, but those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured permits less flexibility as well. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also pricey to pay based upon a number of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to element extra 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 site on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Service. And this point goes even more if your site requires lots of plugins for complete functionality.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot actually do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for performance & not needing to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the functions you’re getting, you truly do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Optimize Images For Web WordPress
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can certainly manage 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 “little” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even include many of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations 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 few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize 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 seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site 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 best overall, however what is finest for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a solid product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to fret about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more flexibility/ much better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Optimize Images For Web WordPress