WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Optimize WordPress For Search Engines
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to provide handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Optimize WordPress For Search Engines
While they have plenty of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all differ in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as a whole, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is very important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a different approach. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Optimize WordPress For Search Engines
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various tasks considering that 2012. I don’t use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their promo 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 Search Engines
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, however the guideline is that the more complex your site is, the more complicated the solutions to speed become.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a few fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
However a slow website does not suggest that you need a larger, much better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, however sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might simply need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to remain quickly as you grow. There are lots of options … but either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually personalized servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the precise chokepoint to get your site moving. Optimize WordPress For Search Engines
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough information to start filling the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right from package, and have it remain that method no matter how big or complex the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that you are totally free to concentrate on speed elements that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an incorporated CDN, however they also offer global data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Optimize WordPress For Search Engines
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 Search Engines
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because 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 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 business has grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult feature of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never understand if the story is due to the fact that they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I like to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need an investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the website through chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has connected with in fact knew the great workings of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however 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 only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of a number of issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Optimize WordPress For Search Engines
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically due to the fact that 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 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 absolutely nothing naturally 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 launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security basics are fairly simple:
- 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 commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that even though security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe 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 & prepared to roll back if something takes place. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a great deal of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped clients who have been. It’s aggravating, laborious & a typically costly scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Optimize WordPress For Search Engines
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both which allow for more storage & more check outs (ie, essentially as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or designer time fixing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is better assigned away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Optimize WordPress For Search Engines
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first consumer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on advancement & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process take place. The phone support is a key factor, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd consumer 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 discovering WP Engine’s special backend and plan on introducing a near-complete site at one time.
They do not have any previous practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, so many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this review revision. Optimize WordPress For Search Engines
WP Engine stands out not just on present functions but likewise on developing new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new designer features that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even general web development finest practices have actually changed significantly considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to incorporate finest practices into execution & jobs with designers.
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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of stand because they merely aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some clients. I do not utilize them for this site because I do not require a number of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Optimize WordPress For Search Engines
All that said, here are a few of the larger image downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be quite made complex– especially if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can lead to some developers making mistakes ranging from irritating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open to the public or merely not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they already do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the basic user. Optimize WordPress For Search Engines
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to view that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a substantial offer (as soon as you surpass the learning curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website checklists to assist troubleshoot all sorts of concerns.
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 why they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply look after it all.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Optimize WordPress For Search Engines
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or extremely real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, however those bans limit flexibility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured enables less adaptability also. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a number of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to element extra hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes further if your site requires lots of plugins for full functionality.
The very same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot actually do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
In either case, 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 usually spending for efficiency & not having to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the features you’re getting, you actually don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Optimize WordPress For Search Engines
Many shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that doesn’t even include many of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra 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 price. You cannot use them to spread out the expense of your strategy,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, but what is finest for you based on your objectives, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a great service with a strong product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to worry about hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see what you think of their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more freedom/ better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer support.
And lastly, 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 Search Engines