WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Optimize WordPress Google Search
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to provide managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Optimize WordPress Google Search
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services provided. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as an entire, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it’s important to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great 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 choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Optimize WordPress Google Search
I have actually used WP Engine for various tasks given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business discussed. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their promotion pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Optimize WordPress Google Search
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complex your site is, the more intricate the solutions to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a few basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish website does not indicate that you require a larger, much better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, however in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply have to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain fast as you grow. There are a lot of options … however either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually tailored servers with extremely aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and recognize the specific chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Optimize WordPress Google Search
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra 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 quickly the server returned enough data to begin loading the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right from the box, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or complicated the site gets.
*Note 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 might get with other services given that you are free to focus on speed factors that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, however they also offer global data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Optimize WordPress Google Search
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Optimize WordPress Google Search
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place 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 & altered 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 tough thing about consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone 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 fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I want to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require an investment of cash, time and expertise.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the site through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually connected with in fact knew the fine workings 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 in between my client, 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, however he had the ability to expertly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Optimize WordPress Google Search
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,especially because their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). But they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security basics are relatively uncomplicated:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website protected is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something happens. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have helped clients who have been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a normally costly situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Optimize WordPress Google Search
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and just up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both which enable more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k check outs 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, but here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty 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 gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is better allocated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Optimize WordPress Google Search
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first client type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that process happen. The phone support is an essential factor, specifically having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website all at once.
They do not have any prior practices 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 type of consumer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, so many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Optimize WordPress Google Search
WP Engine stands out not only on existing features however also on producing new, advanced hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new developer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web development best practices have actually changed radically given that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand adequate web development to incorporate best practices into execution & jobs with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And lots of stand because they just aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some customers. I don’t utilize them for this website because I do not require many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Optimize WordPress Google Search
All that said, here are a few of the bigger image disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite complicated– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they also do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can lead to some designers making errors ranging from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open up to the public or merely not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they currently 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 ever describe finest practice for the general user. Optimize WordPress Google Search
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to view that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a substantial deal (as soon as you get past the knowing curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website lists to help fix 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 that they do all this. And in many cases, support will just look after everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Optimize WordPress Google Search
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or really genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify 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 specific plugins & admin habits for great reasons, however those restrictions restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured enables less adaptability too. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s also expensive to pay based on a number of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; 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 wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Company. And this point goes further if your website needs lots of plugins for full functionality.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t actually do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another email 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 spending for efficiency & not having to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the features you’re getting, you really do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Optimize WordPress Google Search
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned previously that does not even consist of a number of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to spread out the expense of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest overall, but what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a strong item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to stress over hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think of their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more flexibility/ much better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer support.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Optimize WordPress Google Search