WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Optimize WordPress Core
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first business to supply managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Optimize WordPress Core
While they have lots of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all differ in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher price 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 options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is necessary to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, usually with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a different method. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Optimize WordPress Core
I have actually used WP Engine for different projects considering that 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a current client on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, effective 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 WordPress Core
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, but the guideline is that the more intricate your site is, the more complex the services to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with an economical shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically additional plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
But a slow site does not suggest that you need a bigger, much better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may just need to get rid of the emergency brake, install 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 options … however either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have customized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and recognize the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Optimize WordPress Core
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a customized 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 among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, 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 information to start loading the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right from package, and have it remain that way no matter how big or intricate the site gets.
*Note 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 may get with other services given that you are totally free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, however they also provide international data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Optimize WordPress Core
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Optimize WordPress Core
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a huge focus 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 business has actually grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough aspect of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever know if the story is because they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I like to search for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three need an investment of cash, time and competence.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site via chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually engaged with actually knew the great operations of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (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 rep was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to expertly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Optimize WordPress Core
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,specifically due to the fact that their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). But they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a huge neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security basics 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 business arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially 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 takes place. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a great deal of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted clients who have been. It’s frustrating, tedious & a generally pricey situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Optimize WordPress Core
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and just approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both of which permit more storage & more gos to (ie, basically as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k check outs per month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty 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 cost right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost 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 entire month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or designer time fixing problems.
Basically, if your time is better designated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Optimize WordPress Core
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on development & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that process happen. The phone support is a key element, especially having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a start-up site owner that has the budget and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on introducing a near-complete site all at once.
They do not have any prior routines or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make promises and provide support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, so many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. Optimize WordPress Core
WP Engine stands out not just on existing functions but also on producing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented new developer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web advancement best practices have actually changed drastically because I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to integrate finest practices into execution & 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 very best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And many are valid because they merely aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some consumers. I don’t use them for this website because I do not need many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Optimize WordPress Core
All that said, here are a few of the bigger photo 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. And that difference can be rather made complex– especially if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the special backend can result in some designers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or simply not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they already do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the basic user. Optimize WordPress Core
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to see that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a substantial offer (when you get past the knowing curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site checklists to assist 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.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And most of the times, support will just look after everything.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Optimize WordPress Core
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, however those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized websites, 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 versatile and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured enables less versatility too. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also expensive to pay based on a number of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to factor extra hosting bills 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 handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your website requires many plugins for full performance.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you can’t actually do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up having to do an unpleasant migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for efficiency & not needing to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Optimize WordPress Core
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out previously that does not even include many of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra 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 tasks or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You can’t utilize them to spread out the cost of your plan,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, but what is best for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a great service with a solid product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to stress over hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more liberty/ much better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Optimize WordPress Core