WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Optimize WordPress To Load Faster
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to offer managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Optimize WordPress To Load Faster
While they have plenty of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has become a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short 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.
And then there’s a different level of handled 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 higher rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is very important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a various method. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Optimize WordPress To Load Faster
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different tasks given that 2012. I don’t use them for my main sites today (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying client or specialist to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically live 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 To Load Faster
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your site is, the more complex the services to speed become.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a few basic plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with an economical shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a slow site doesn’t mean that you need a larger, much better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are trying to haul 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 might just need to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to remain fast as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … however either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually tailored servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the precise chokepoint to get your site moving. Optimize WordPress To Load Faster
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough information to begin loading the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that method no matter how big or complex the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services given that you are complimentary to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, however they likewise supply international information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Optimize WordPress To Load Faster
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Optimize WordPress To Load Faster
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place 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 & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard aspect of consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever know if the story is because they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or a cost.
I want to try to find access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require an investment of money, time and competence.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has interacted with in fact knew the fine operations of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Optimize WordPress To Load Faster
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically since their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). 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 entire Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security basics are fairly 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website secure is still eventually 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 occurs. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a great deal of security concerns worldwide 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 ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have assisted clients who have been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a generally pricey scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Optimize WordPress To Load Faster
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and just up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both of which enable more storage & more check outs (ie, basically as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time repairing concerns.
Basically, if your time is better assigned 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 instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Optimize WordPress To Load Faster
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first customer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, 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 requirement for a continuous basic website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a key aspect, especially being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup site owner that has the budget and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any prior practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make guarantees and supply support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, so many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. Optimize WordPress To Load Faster
WP Engine excels not just on present features but also on creating new, advanced hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented new designer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have altered significantly since I started observing the market *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to integrate finest practices into execution & jobs with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And numerous stand because they merely aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some consumers. I don’t use them for this site because I do not require many of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Optimize WordPress To Load Faster
All that stated, here are some of the bigger image drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be rather made complex– specifically if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the special backend can cause some designers making mistakes ranging from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website available to the public or simply not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice consumers than they already do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain best practice for the general user. Optimize WordPress To Load Faster
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to enjoy that video several 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 really going to be a huge deal (as soon as you get past the knowing curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site lists to help 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 they do all this. And in most cases, support will just take care of all of it.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Optimize WordPress To Load Faster
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected 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 consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for great factors, however those restrictions restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured allows for less flexibility too. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise costly to pay based on a variety of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to aspect additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Business. And this point goes even more if your website requires lots of plugins for complete functionality.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot truly do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for efficiency & not needing to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the features you’re getting, you really don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually visiting regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Optimize WordPress To Load Faster
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can certainly manage 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” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even consist of a lot of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the cost. You can’t utilize them to expand the expense of your strategy,especially 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 alternative, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best total, however exactly what is best for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a great service with a solid item. 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 unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to stress over hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see what you think of their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more flexibility/ better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer support.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Optimize WordPress To Load Faster