WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Optimize WordPress For Seo
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to supply managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Optimize WordPress For Seo
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all vary in services supplied. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is very important 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 individual experience. That’s fine but I take a various approach. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Optimize WordPress For Seo
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous jobs since 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current customer on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or specialist to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Seo
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, but the general rule is that the more complex your website is, the more intricate the services to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally additional plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
However a sluggish site does not indicate that you require a larger, better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling 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 a lot of options … but either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where managed 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 common webhosting. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the precise chokepoint to get your website moving. Optimize WordPress For Seo
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough information to start loading the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right out of the box, 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 even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are complimentary to concentrate on speed aspects that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, however they likewise provide global information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Optimize WordPress For Seo
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 Seo
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put 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 business 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 thing about consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never know if the story is because they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or an expense.
I like to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of loan, time and proficiency.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the website through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has interacted with actually understood the great operations of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of a number of issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Optimize WordPress For Seo
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly due to the fact that their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that despite the fact that security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website protected is still ultimately 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 takes place. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a great deal of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have assisted clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a normally costly circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Optimize WordPress For Seo
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both of which permit more storage & more gos to (ie, basically as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates disadvantage 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 designer’s) time, their rates is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 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 entire month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time repairing problems.
Essentially, if your time is better assigned away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly 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 Seo
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first customer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is an essential element, specifically having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd client type is a startup website owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on launching a near-complete site at one time.
They do not have any prior routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements 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 evaluation modification. Optimize WordPress For Seo
WP Engine stands out not just on current features but likewise on developing new, advanced hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually altered significantly considering that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know adequate web development to integrate best practices into execution & jobs 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous stand due to the fact that they just 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 customers. I do not use them for this website because I do not need a number of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Optimize WordPress For Seo
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger photo downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be quite complicated– specifically if you have simply adequate 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 many hosting companies, they likewise don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the unique backend can lead to some designers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev website open to the public or simply not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more novice clients than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the general user. Optimize WordPress For Seo
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had 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 get past the learning curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website checklists to assist 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 why they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply look after it all.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Optimize WordPress For Seo
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for good reasons, but those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured permits less versatility too. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also costly to pay based upon a variety of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to factor extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile 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 enable on a Personal or Company. And this point goes further if your site requires many plugins for complete performance.
The same goes for 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 utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot truly do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up having to do a painful migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for performance & not needing to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually visiting frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Optimize WordPress For Seo
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr 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 fairly transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned previously that doesn’t even consist of much of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits requires additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted 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 spread out the cost of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest total, however what is finest for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a strong product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to fret about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a fit 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. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more liberty/ better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Optimize WordPress For Seo