WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Optimize WordPress Multisite
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to offer handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Optimize WordPress Multisite
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, 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 comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, typically 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 choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Optimize WordPress Multisite
I have actually used WP Engine for various tasks given that 2012. I don’t use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or specialist to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer service.” 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 Multisite
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complex your website is, the more intricate the services to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with an affordable shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically extra plugins, customized theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a slow site doesn’t imply that you need a larger, much better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may 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 help to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … however either you or a developer should implement 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 exceptionally aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Optimize WordPress Multisite
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin packing the page.
Now here is the speed test of a standard WordPress install. WP Engine not just gets strong TTFB times however keep in mind how comparable the First Byte and First Render are to the Unoptimized website.
It’s nice to have that kind of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or intricate the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even 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 easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an incorporated CDN, but they likewise supply global information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Optimize WordPress Multisite
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Optimize WordPress Multisite
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has actually grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough thing about customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never know 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 review, the important part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to look for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three require a financial investment of cash, time and know-how.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all three boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the site via chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has connected with actually knew the fine functions of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Optimize WordPress Multisite
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly since their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the downsides). However 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 whole Web. That means 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 benefit of being open-source with a very large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals 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 industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a great deal of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the assurance 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 assisted customers who have been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a generally expensive circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Optimize WordPress Multisite
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and only approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy 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 visits (ie, generally as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k gos to per month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However 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 worth & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes every month. 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 visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or designer time repairing issues.
Basically, if your time is much better assigned far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Optimize WordPress Multisite
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 types 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 concentrate on development & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve 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 & client support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is an essential factor, specifically having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third customer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on releasing a near-complete website all at once.
They do not have any previous practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these types of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, so many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this review modification. Optimize WordPress Multisite
WP Engine excels not only on existing features but also on creating new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have altered radically considering that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to integrate best practices into implementation & projects 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 very best fit for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And many are valid since they simply aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some clients. I don’t utilize them for this website since I do not need much of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Optimize WordPress Multisite
All that said, here are a few of the bigger picture drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be quite made complex– specifically if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can result in some developers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website open to the general public or simply not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they already do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the basic user. Optimize WordPress Multisite
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to see that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of site lists to assist fix 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.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of all of it.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Optimize WordPress Multisite
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or extremely genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit more to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for great factors, however those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured permits less adaptability as well. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to aspect additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible 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 Service. And this point goes further if your website needs many plugins for complete functionality.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t truly do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up needing to do a painful migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending for efficiency & not having to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Optimize WordPress Multisite
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out earlier that does not 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 limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires extra expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a costly option, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, however exactly what is finest for you based on your goals, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to stress over hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you think of their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more flexibility/ much better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Optimize WordPress Multisite