WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Optimize WordPress Theme Demo
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to offer handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Optimize WordPress Theme Demo
While they have a lot of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the website 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 a whole, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it’s important to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a different method. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Optimize WordPress Theme Demo
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various projects considering that 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current customer on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class client 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 Theme Demo
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, however the general rule is that the more intricate your site is, the more complex the services to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text site with a couple of standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually extra plugins, customized theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
But a sluggish website does not suggest that you require a bigger, better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, however in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may just have to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to stay quickly as you grow. There are plenty of options … however 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 issues. They have tailored servers with very aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and recognize the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Optimize WordPress Theme Demo
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough information to begin filling the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that way no matter how big or complex the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are free to focus on speed factors that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an integrated CDN, however they also supply global information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Optimize WordPress Theme Demo
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Optimize WordPress Theme Demo
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed 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:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has actually grown & changed 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 difficult feature of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever know 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 point out in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to look for access, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of cash, time and know-how.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing far better striking all three boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the website through chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has engaged with really understood the great workings of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of several problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Optimize WordPress Theme Demo
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially due to the fact that their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the downsides). But they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security essentials 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 utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not 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 everything off-site & all set to roll back if something happens. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a lot of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top 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 actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tedious & an usually costly circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Optimize WordPress Theme Demo
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. 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, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both which enable more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time repairing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is much better designated away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Optimize WordPress Theme Demo
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first customer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan 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 element, specifically being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a startup site owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on launching a near-complete website at one time.
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 features, clients, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this review modification. Optimize WordPress Theme Demo
WP Engine stands out not only on current features but likewise on developing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web development best practices have actually changed radically because I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to incorporate finest practices into implementation & 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And numerous are valid because 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 consumers. 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 Theme Demo
All that stated, here are a few of the larger photo 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. Which distinction can be quite complicated– particularly if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the special backend can lead to some developers making mistakes varying from annoying redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site open to the public or simply not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they currently do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain finest practice for the basic user. Optimize WordPress Theme Demo
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to see that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (when you get past the knowing curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of site lists to help troubleshoot 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 they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply take care of it all.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Optimize WordPress Theme Demo
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, but those restrictions limit adaptability and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized sites, 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 flexible and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured allows for less adaptability too. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also pricey to pay based on a variety of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to factor extra hosting costs 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 deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Service. And this point goes even more if your website requires lots of plugins for full functionality.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you can’t really do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up needing to do a painful migration to another email company mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for performance & not having to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Optimize WordPress Theme Demo
Many shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned previously that doesn’t even consist of much of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires additional costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to spread out the cost of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, but what is best for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a terrific service with a solid product. Their pricing 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 unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to worry about hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more freedom/ much better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer support.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Optimize WordPress Theme Demo