WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Optimize Mariadb 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 supply managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Optimize Mariadb WordPress
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all differ in services provided. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as an entire, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is very important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a various technique. This review 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 Mariadb WordPress
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous jobs considering that 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or specialist 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 promise “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their promo pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Optimize Mariadb WordPress
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, however the guideline is that the more complicated your site is, the more complicated the options to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a few fundamental plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally additional plugins, customized style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
But a slow site does not mean that you need a larger, better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, however in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might just have to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to stay quick as you grow. There are lots of services … but either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have personalized servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and recognize the exact chokepoint to get your site moving. Optimize Mariadb WordPress
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin packing the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right out of 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 even much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services given that you are complimentary to focus on speed elements that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, but they likewise provide worldwide information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Optimize Mariadb WordPress
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Optimize Mariadb WordPress
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my 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 lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult aspect of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never know if the story is because they spoke with 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 an expense.
I like to try to find access, systems, and understanding, all three require an investment of money, time and know-how.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing much better striking all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the site via chat.
Based on their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually interacted with really knew the fine functions of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Optimize Mariadb WordPress
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the downsides). But they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That suggests 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 application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a very large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website protected is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something takes place. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a great deal of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted customers who have been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a typically pricey circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Optimize Mariadb WordPress
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and only up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both of which permit more storage & more sees (ie, basically as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But 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 worth & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & 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 entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or designer time fixing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Optimize Mariadb WordPress
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first consumer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that process take place. The phone support is an essential aspect, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a startup site owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on launching a near-complete website at one time.
They don’t have any prior routines or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Optimize Mariadb WordPress
WP Engine stands out not just on present features but also on developing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented new designer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have changed significantly since I began observing the market *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to incorporate best practices into execution & tasks 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of stand due to the fact that they simply aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some customers. I don’t utilize them for this website since I do not need a lot of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Optimize Mariadb WordPress
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger picture downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be quite made complex– especially if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can result in some developers making mistakes varying from annoying redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website open to the public or just not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever explain best practice for the general user. Optimize Mariadb WordPress
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to view that video several 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-made backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (as soon as you surpass the learning curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website checklists to help fix all sorts of issues.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply take care of everything.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Optimize Mariadb WordPress
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods terms of decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or very real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin behavior for good factors, but those bans limit versatility and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured enables less flexibility as well. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also costly to pay based on a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to factor additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Service. And this point goes further if your site needs many plugins for complete functionality.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you can’t actually do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up having 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 prices based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for performance & not needing to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Optimize Mariadb WordPress
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even include much of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to expand the expense of your strategy,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a pricey option, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, however what is finest for you based on your objectives, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a fantastic service with a solid item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to worry about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see exactly what you think of their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more freedom/ much better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer support.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Optimize Mariadb WordPress