WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Optimize Images WordPress Online
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. Optimize Images WordPress Online
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name recognition and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all differ in services supplied. Some merely 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 truly buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the website 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 options, but as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it’s important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a various method. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Optimize Images WordPress Online
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various tasks given that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a current client 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 pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer 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 WordPress Online
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, however the general rule is that the more complex your site is, the more complex the services to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally additional plugins, custom style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
But a sluggish site does not imply that you require a larger, better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, however often it’s more about caching specific resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are aiming to transport 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 remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to stay quickly as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … however either you or a designer must execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Optimize Images WordPress Online
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well 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 puffed up theme, additional 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 rapidly the server returned enough data to start loading the page.
It’s nice to have that kind of speed right from package, and have it remain that way no matter how big or complicated 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 might get with other services since you are complimentary to concentrate on speed factors that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an incorporated CDN, however they also provide worldwide data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Optimize Images WordPress Online
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Optimize Images WordPress Online
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. 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 put 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 business has actually grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult aspect of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never understand if the story is since they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I want to search for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require an investment of loan, time and proficiency.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting all three boxes. They keep a range 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 guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually interacted with really knew the fine operations of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to expertly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after several concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Optimize Images WordPress Online
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically since their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the downsides). However they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is 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 neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security basics are fairly simple:
- 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 commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, 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 site secure is still ultimately 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 everything off-site & ready to roll back if something occurs. Because 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 also works closely with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have assisted customers who have actually been. It’s aggravating, laborious & an usually pricey circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Optimize Images WordPress Online
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both of which permit more storage & more visits (ie, generally as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is fantastic.
Just running WordPress updates each 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 whole regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly 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 might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge 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 concerns.
Generally, if your time is better allocated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Optimize Images WordPress Online
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing basic site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that process occur. The phone support is a crucial factor, specifically being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on releasing a near-complete site all at once.
They don’t have any previous practices or customizeds 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 promises and supply support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, so many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Optimize Images WordPress Online
WP Engine excels not just on present functions however likewise on developing new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new designer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have actually altered significantly given that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web advancement to integrate best practices into implementation & jobs with developers.
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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And lots of are valid due to the fact that they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some customers. I don’t use them for this website 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 Images WordPress Online
All that said, here are a few of the larger picture drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be quite complicated– especially if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can cause some developers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev website available to the public or just not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they already do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever describe best practice for the basic user. Optimize Images WordPress Online
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to enjoy that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a huge offer (once you surpass the learning curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website lists to help troubleshoot 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.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just take care of everything.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter 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 Images WordPress Online
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & increasing complexity.
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 need to be rather consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or extremely real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for great reasons, but those restrictions limit versatility and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured enables less adaptability too. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise expensive to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to element additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible 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 enable on an Individual or Company. And this point goes even more if your website requires numerous plugins for complete performance.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot actually do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up needing to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending for performance & not having to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Optimize Images WordPress Online
Many shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted 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 “small” website owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even consist of much 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 limits requires additional expenses & technical execution 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 rate. You can’t use them to spread out the expense of your strategy,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are looking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest overall, however exactly what is finest for you based on your objectives, budget, resources & habits.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use an excellent service with a solid item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to fret about hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more freedom/ much better prices than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer support.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Optimize Images WordPress Online