WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Optimize WordPress Files
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to supply handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Optimize WordPress Files
While they have plenty of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and innovative 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 an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services provided. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of managed 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 rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as a whole, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is essential to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, usually with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a various technique. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Optimize WordPress Files
I have actually used WP Engine for different tasks considering that 2012. I do not use them for my main websites 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 get referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their promotion 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 Files
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, however the guideline is that the more intricate your website is, the more complicated the solutions 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 standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with an affordable shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically additional plugins, custom theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a slow website doesn’t suggest that you need a larger, much better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, but in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might just need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to remain fast as you grow. There are a lot of options … however either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and determine the exact chokepoint to get your site moving. Optimize WordPress Files
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough data to begin loading the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right from the box, and have it remain that way no matter how big or intricate the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services since you are totally free to concentrate on speed elements 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 offer international data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Optimize WordPress Files
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Optimize WordPress Files
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a big 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 company has actually grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult aspect of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever know if the story is due to the fact that they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to search for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require an investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the website via chat.
Based on their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually engaged with in fact knew the fine functions of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of numerous problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Optimize WordPress Files
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically because their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). However they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are relatively 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 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 simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. 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 & 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 occurs. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a great deal of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading 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 free of charge.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually helped clients who have been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a normally expensive scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Optimize WordPress Files
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both which permit more storage & more sees (ie, basically as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k visits per month on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes on a monthly basis. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly 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 expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or developer time fixing problems.
Generally, if your time is much better designated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Optimize WordPress Files
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine seems to be a fit 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 client type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at having to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is an essential factor, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third customer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on releasing a near-complete site all at once.
They don’t have any prior routines or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, many of the enhancements they make are concentrated 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, but it’s truly worth calling out in this review revision. Optimize WordPress Files
WP Engine excels not just on present functions but also on creating new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented new designer functions that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even general web advancement best practices have actually altered radically because I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to incorporate best practices into execution & tasks with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many stand since they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some consumers. I don’t use them for this site because I do not need many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Optimize WordPress Files
All that stated, here are some of the bigger picture downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be quite complicated– specifically if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they also don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can cause some designers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website open up to the general public or merely not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they currently do.
Like numerous customized 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 finest practice for the general user. Optimize WordPress Files
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to enjoy that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a big deal (once you get past the learning curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to find out 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 variety of site checklists to help repair 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 why they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply take care of all of it.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Optimize WordPress Files
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or very real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, however those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller websites, 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 versatile and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured enables less adaptability also. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to factor additional hosting expenses 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 Service. And this point goes further if your website requires numerous plugins for complete performance.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot truly do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail 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 spending for efficiency & not needing to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Optimize WordPress Files
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour 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 fairly transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even include a number of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. 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 notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the rate. You can’t use them to spread out the expense of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are wanting to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, especially compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, however exactly what is finest for you based upon your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a fantastic service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to stress over hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see exactly what you think about their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more freedom/ better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer support.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Optimize WordPress Files