WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Optimize WordPress Woocommerce
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to supply handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Optimize WordPress Woocommerce
While they have plenty of competitors in both the general 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 site contractors, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all differ in services provided. Some simply 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 managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site 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 customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is very important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a different technique. This review will 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 Woocommerce
I have actually used WP Engine for different projects since 2012. I don’t use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying client or consultant 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 “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 Woocommerce
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, but the guideline is that the more complex your site is, the more complex the options to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a few basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally extra plugins, custom theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
However a slow site doesn’t imply that you require a bigger, much better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, but often it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might just have to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to stay quickly as you grow. There are lots of options … but either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually personalized servers with very aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and recognize the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Optimize WordPress Woocommerce
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough data to begin packing the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right from package, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or complicated the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services given that you are complimentary to concentrate on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an integrated CDN, but they likewise supply global data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Optimize WordPress Woocommerce
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Optimize WordPress Woocommerce
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a big 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 company has actually grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard aspect of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is since they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I like to search for access, systems, and understanding, all three need an investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting 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 readily available everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based on their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has communicated with actually understood the fine workings of WordPress and has been able 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 shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Optimize WordPress Woocommerce
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,especially since their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the downsides). However they seem to know that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security essentials 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, 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 and secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something takes place. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a great deal of security problems 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 assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have helped clients who have been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a normally expensive situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Optimize WordPress Woocommerce
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply 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 visits (ie, essentially as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k gos to each month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices downside 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 pricing is fantastic.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 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 entire regular monthly charge right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee 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 entire month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or designer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is much better allocated 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 instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Optimize WordPress Woocommerce
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first customer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on development & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a key factor, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a start-up site owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on releasing a near-complete site at one time.
They don’t have any prior habits or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these types of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Optimize WordPress Woocommerce
WP Engine stands out not just on present features but likewise on producing brand-new, innovative hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new developer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually changed significantly because I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to incorporate best practices into execution & 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And many are valid due to the fact that they just aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some customers. I don’t use 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 Woocommerce
All that stated, here are some of the larger photo downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be quite made complex– especially if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can result in some designers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website open up to the public or just not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain best practice for the basic user. Optimize WordPress Woocommerce
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to view that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a substantial offer (once you get past the learning curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety 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.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Optimize WordPress Woocommerce
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin behavior for great factors, but those bans limit flexibility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured enables less adaptability too. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based on a variety of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to aspect additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Business. And this point goes further if your site requires many plugins for complete functionality.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you can’t actually do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for efficiency & not having to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Optimize WordPress Woocommerce
Many shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even include much of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You can’t utilize them to expand the expense of your strategy,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a costly choice, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however exactly what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a great service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to stress over hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you think about their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more freedom/ better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Optimize WordPress Woocommerce