WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Optimize WordPress Siteground
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first business to provide managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Optimize WordPress Siteground
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However 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 functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is essential to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, usually with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a various approach. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Optimize WordPress Siteground
I have actually used WP Engine for different jobs because 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a present client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their promo pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Optimize WordPress Siteground
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, however the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more complex the solutions to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text website with a few fundamental plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally extra plugins, customized style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
However a slow website doesn’t indicate that you require a bigger, much better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply have to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to stay fast as you grow. There are lots of options … but either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually tailored servers with extremely aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and identify the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Optimize WordPress Siteground
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating 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 customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough data to start loading the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right out of package, and have it stay 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 because you are complimentary to concentrate on speed factors that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an incorporated CDN, but they likewise supply global data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Optimize WordPress Siteground
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Optimize WordPress Siteground
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has grown & changed a lot ever since. 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 customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never know if the story is since they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or an expense.
I want to try to find gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three need an investment of money, time and know-how.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the website through chat.
Based on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has interacted with in fact understood the fine operations of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Optimize WordPress Siteground
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly since their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). But they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern 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 own WordPress set up, the security basics are fairly simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last 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 duty is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something takes place. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely 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 look after it totally free.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have assisted customers who have been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a normally expensive scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Optimize WordPress Siteground
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are just 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, essentially as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty 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 whole regular monthly charge right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time repairing issues.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly 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 concentrate on their core markets. Optimize WordPress Siteground
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, 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 requirement for a continuous fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that process occur. The phone support is an essential aspect, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third consumer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s special backend and plan on launching a near-complete site simultaneously.
They don’t have any previous routines or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this review modification. Optimize WordPress Siteground
WP Engine excels not only on present features however likewise on producing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented new designer functions that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even general web development finest practices have actually altered radically because I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand adequate web development to incorporate best practices into execution & jobs with developers.
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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And lots of stand due to the fact that they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some clients. I do not utilize them for this site since I do not need many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Optimize WordPress Siteground
All that said, here are a few of the larger image downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be rather made complex– specifically if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can result in some designers making mistakes ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open to the general public or simply not allowing 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 many customized platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss finest practice for the general user. Optimize WordPress Siteground
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to watch 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 huge offer (as soon as you surpass the learning curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website lists to help fix 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 in most cases, support will just look after everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Optimize WordPress Siteground
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or very genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit more to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for good factors, but those bans limit versatility and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However 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 permits less adaptability also. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a variety of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to factor extra hosting bills 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 Service. And this point goes further if your website requires many plugins for complete functionality.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you cannot truly do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for efficiency & not needing to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Optimize WordPress Siteground
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that doesn’t even consist of many of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs additional costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t use them to expand the expense of your strategy,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is an expensive option, especially compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, however exactly what is finest for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a terrific service with a strong item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to stress over hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see what you think of their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more freedom/ better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Optimize WordPress Siteground