WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Optimize WordPress Mobile Devices
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to provide managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Optimize WordPress Mobile Devices
While they have plenty of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has actually 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 offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as an entire, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it’s important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a different approach. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Optimize WordPress Mobile Devices
I’ve utilized WP Engine for numerous projects considering that 2012. I do not use them for my main websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, effective 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 Mobile Devices
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your site is, the more intricate the options to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text site with a few fundamental plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically additional plugins, custom theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a slow site does not indicate that you require a bigger, better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might just need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain quick as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … but either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have actually personalized servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Optimize WordPress Mobile Devices
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have 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 additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough information to begin packing the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right from the box, and have it remain that way no matter how big or complex the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services since you are complimentary to concentrate on speed elements that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an integrated CDN, but they likewise offer worldwide data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Optimize WordPress Mobile Devices
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Optimize WordPress Mobile Devices
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of 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 actually grown & altered a lot since then. 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 client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is because they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the important 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 understanding, all 3 need an investment of money, time and expertise.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing far better hitting all three boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the website via chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has engaged with really understood the great functions of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of several issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Optimize WordPress Mobile Devices
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,specifically due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). However they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security basics are relatively straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, 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 “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have 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 typically pricey scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Optimize WordPress Mobile Devices
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, dependable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same cost 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 each month.
Both which allow for more storage & more sees (ie, generally as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k gos to each month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of small WordPress websites 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 worth & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your installation 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 whole regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any check outs 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 website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time fixing problems.
Essentially, if your time is much better designated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Optimize WordPress Mobile Devices
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of consumers 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 client type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing fundamental website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that process occur. The phone support is an essential element, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website all at once.
They do not have any previous habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make promises and offer support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this review modification. Optimize WordPress Mobile Devices
WP Engine excels not just on current functions but likewise on developing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web development best practices have actually changed significantly given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to integrate finest practices into application & tasks 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many 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 don’t use them for this website due to the fact that I do not require many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Optimize WordPress Mobile Devices
All that said, here are some of the bigger photo downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be quite complicated– especially if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the unique backend can cause some developers making mistakes varying from annoying redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or simply not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they already do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the basic user. Optimize WordPress Mobile Devices
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to view that video several 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 big offer (when you surpass the learning curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website lists to assist troubleshoot 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.
Again– they have reasons that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just take care of it all.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Optimize WordPress Mobile Devices
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin behavior for excellent factors, however those restrictions limit versatility and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured allows for less versatility also. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise expensive to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website 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 further if your website requires many plugins for full performance.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t truly do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up needing to do an agonizing migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for efficiency & not having to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Optimize WordPress Mobile Devices
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) handled more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned previously that doesn’t even include many of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You can’t utilize them to expand the expense of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are looking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a pricey option, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, however exactly what is best for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a solid product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to stress over hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go take 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 existing host & desire more liberty/ better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive client service.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Optimize WordPress Mobile Devices