WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Optimize Widget WordPress
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first business to provide handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Optimize Widget WordPress
While they have plenty of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all differ in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal 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 really purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different 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 options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is necessary to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a various approach. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Optimize Widget WordPress
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different projects since 2012. I don’t use them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 Widget WordPress
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 intricate the options to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text website with a few basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with an inexpensive shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
However a slow website doesn’t indicate that you need a larger, much better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, however sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are aiming to transport a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may just have to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to stay fast as you grow. There are lots of options … however either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually tailored servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common web host. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the precise chokepoint to get your site moving. Optimize Widget WordPress
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough information to start loading the page.
It’s nice to have that kind of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that way no matter how big 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 better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are totally free to focus on speed factors that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an integrated CDN, however they likewise provide global data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Optimize Widget WordPress
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Optimize Widget WordPress
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough feature of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never understand if the story is due to the fact that they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all three need an investment of cash, time and expertise.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the site through chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has connected with in fact understood the great workings of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Optimize Widget WordPress
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially since their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). However they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are fairly 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically 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. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have helped customers who have been. It’s aggravating, laborious & a normally expensive situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Optimize Widget WordPress
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both which permit more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k gos to per month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) 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 issues or downtime costs lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is much better assigned far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Optimize Widget WordPress
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first client type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on development & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous standard site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is a crucial factor, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a start-up website owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s special backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any prior practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once 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 client.
With these types of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this review modification. Optimize Widget WordPress
WP Engine stands out not only on current features however also on creating brand-new, innovative hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new designer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web development best practices have changed drastically since I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know enough web development to integrate finest practices into implementation & jobs with developers.
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 very best fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And many are valid due to the fact that they simply 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 clients. I do not utilize them for this site due to the fact that I do not need many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Optimize Widget WordPress
All that said, here are some of the bigger photo drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference 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, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the special backend can lead to some developers making errors ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open to the general public or merely not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they already do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain finest practice for the general user. Optimize Widget WordPress
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to view that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (once you get past the knowing curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of site 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 they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of it all.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Optimize Widget WordPress
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban certain plugins & admin behavior for great factors, however those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured enables less flexibility also. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also expensive to pay based upon a number of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to factor extra 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 website on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Business. And this point goes further if your website needs many plugins for full performance.
The very same chooses 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.
In addition, you cannot truly do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for efficiency & not needing to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Optimize Widget WordPress
Many shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) handled more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even consist of much of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to expand the expense of your plan,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest total, however what is best for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & routines.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a terrific service with a strong product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to fret about hosting problems.
If managed 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. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more flexibility/ better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Optimize Widget WordPress