WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Optimize WordPress For Pagespeed
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to offer managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Optimize WordPress For Pagespeed
While they have a lot of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all vary in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly 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 greater cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as an entire, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is essential to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a different technique. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Optimize WordPress For Pagespeed
I have actually used WP Engine for various jobs considering that 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), however I do have an existing 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 companies mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational 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 WordPress For Pagespeed
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your website is, the more intricate the services to speed become.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text website with a couple of fundamental plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually additional plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
But a slow website does not imply that you need a larger, better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to transport a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply have 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 fast as you grow. There are lots of options … however either you or a developer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have tailored servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common web host. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the precise chokepoint to get your website moving. Optimize WordPress For Pagespeed
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to begin loading the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right out of package, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or intricate the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that you are complimentary to focus on speed elements that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an integrated CDN, but they likewise provide global information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Optimize WordPress For Pagespeed
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 Pagespeed
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my 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 grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult feature of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never know if the story is since they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I like to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need a financial investment of cash, time and competence.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the website via chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has connected with in fact knew the great functions of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Optimize WordPress For Pagespeed
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially because their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). However they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security basics are fairly 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a lot of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have helped customers who have been. It’s frustrating, tedious & a typically pricey scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Optimize WordPress For Pagespeed
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same rate 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 monthly.
Both of which permit more storage & more visits (ie, basically as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k check outs per month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low cost 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 overall value & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is remarkable.
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 whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee 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 could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or developer time fixing problems.
Generally, if your time is much better assigned far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually 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 focus on their core markets. Optimize WordPress For Pagespeed
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine appears 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 procedure, the first customer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on advancement & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at having to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process take place. The phone support is a key factor, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third customer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on releasing a near-complete site all at once.
They don’t have any prior routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Optimize WordPress For Pagespeed
WP Engine stands out not only on current features however also on developing new, innovative hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented new designer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web advancement best practices have altered radically since I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to integrate finest practices into execution & 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 very best fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many are valid due to the fact that they simply aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some clients. I don’t use them for this site due to the fact that I do not require many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Optimize WordPress For Pagespeed
All that said, here are some of the bigger image drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite made complex– particularly if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can cause some designers making mistakes varying from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site available to the public or merely not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they already do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain finest practice for the basic user. Optimize WordPress For Pagespeed
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to enjoy 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 custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a substantial offer (once you surpass the learning curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of site checklists to assist repair all sorts of issues.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply take care of it all.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Optimize WordPress For Pagespeed
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or extremely real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban certain plugins & admin behavior for great factors, but those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured permits less adaptability also. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a variety of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to aspect extra hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Business. And this point goes even more if your site needs numerous plugins for complete functionality.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you cannot actually do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up having to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for efficiency & not needing to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Optimize WordPress For Pagespeed
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even consist of a number of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires additional costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the cost. You cannot use them to expand the cost of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are looking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, especially compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest overall, however what is finest for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use an excellent service with a strong product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer 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 don’t want to stress over hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a fit 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 talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more freedom/ better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer support.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Optimize WordPress For Pagespeed