WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Optimize WordPress For Google
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to offer managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Optimize WordPress For Google
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all differ in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as an entire, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is essential to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, usually with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a different method. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Optimize WordPress For Google
I have actually used WP Engine for different tasks given that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main websites today (see conclusion), however I do have a current customer on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 For Google
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your site is, the more complex the services to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text site with a few standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally extra plugins, customized style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish site does not indicate that you need a bigger, much better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however often it’s more about caching specific resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain quickly as you grow. There are lots of solutions … but either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the specific chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Optimize WordPress For Google
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to start loading the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right from the box, and have it remain that method 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 back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services because you are complimentary to concentrate on speed factors that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an incorporated CDN, however they also provide global information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Optimize WordPress For Google
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Optimize WordPress For Google
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position 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 stated, the tough thing about client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never understand 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 evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to look for access, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of loan, time and knowledge.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available all over 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 really understood the great operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Optimize WordPress For Google
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,especially because their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the downsides). However 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 whole Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site protected is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something takes place. Given that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have assisted customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & a normally costly circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Optimize WordPress For Google
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, dependable VPS (ie, your very 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 plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both which permit more storage & more sees (ie, basically as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k visits each month on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Simply 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 charge right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or developer time fixing issues.
Essentially, if your time is much better allocated away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Optimize WordPress For Google
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of customers 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 consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous basic site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that process occur. The phone support is an essential element, specifically having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third customer type is a startup website owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s special backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any previous routines or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, so many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements 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 revision. Optimize WordPress For Google
WP Engine stands out not just on current features however also on developing brand-new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new developer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web development finest practices have actually altered significantly because I started observing the market *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web advancement to integrate finest practices into application & projects 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 best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous stand 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 customers. I do not use them for this site because I do not need a lot of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Optimize WordPress For Google
All that stated, here are a few of the larger photo disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be quite made complex– particularly if you have simply enough 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 traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can lead to some developers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site available to the general public or simply not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they already do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the basic user. Optimize WordPress For Google
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to enjoy that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a huge deal (as soon as you surpass the learning curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of website lists 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.
Again– they have reasons that they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply look after all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Optimize WordPress For Google
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or very real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit more to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for excellent reasons, however those restrictions restrict flexibility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized sites, 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 flexible and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured enables less adaptability as well. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s also expensive to pay based upon a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to aspect additional 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 deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your website needs many plugins for complete performance.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t actually do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do a painful migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for performance & not having to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you truly do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally visiting regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Optimize WordPress For Google
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can certainly deal with 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” site owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even consist of many of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your strategy,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is an expensive option, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, but what is finest for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t 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 warranty. So do a test set up and see exactly what you consider their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more freedom/ better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer service.
And last but not least, 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 simplify things. Optimize WordPress For Google