WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Optimize Your WordPress Database
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to provide managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Optimize Your WordPress Database
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all differ in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as an entire, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is very important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, usually with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a different technique. 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 “finest fit” for. Optimize Your WordPress Database
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various jobs given that 2012. I don’t use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a current client on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or specialist to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their promotion 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 Your WordPress Database
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, but the guideline is that the more complicated your site is, the more intricate the services to speed become.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text site with a couple of basic plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom-made style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
But a sluggish website does not indicate that you need a bigger, much better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, however sometimes it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might simply need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to stay quick as you grow. There are lots of solutions … but either you or a developer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually tailored servers with very aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a common web host. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and recognize the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Optimize Your WordPress Database
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, 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 loading the page.
Now here is the speed test of a standard WordPress install. WP Engine not just gets strong TTFB times however keep in mind how comparable the First Byte and First Render are to the Unoptimized website.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right from package, and have it stay that way no matter how big or complicated the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are totally free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, however they also supply worldwide data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Optimize Your WordPress Database
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Optimize Your WordPress Database
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a big 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 company has 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 stated, the hard thing about customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never know if the story is because they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to try to find gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 need an investment of loan, time and knowledge.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has engaged with really understood the fine operations of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Optimize Your WordPress Database
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 know that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security essentials are relatively 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 see that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something happens. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually helped customers who have been. It’s frustrating, tedious & an usually costly scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Optimize Your WordPress Database
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and just up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same rate 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 each month.
Both which enable more storage & more check outs (ie, essentially as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k gos to per month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates every month & 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 cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole 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 problems or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time repairing problems.
Essentially, if your time is better designated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Optimize Your WordPress Database
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a crucial aspect, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a start-up website owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on introducing a near-complete site all at once.
They do not have any previous routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this review revision. Optimize Your WordPress Database
WP Engine stands out not only on existing functions but also on developing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out new developer functions that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually altered radically given that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to integrate best practices into implementation & 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous stand because they merely aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some customers. I don’t use them for this website because I do not need much of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Optimize Your WordPress Database
All that stated, here are some of the bigger image downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be quite made complex– specifically if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the unique backend can result in some designers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site open to the public or simply not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they currently do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the basic user. Optimize Your WordPress Database
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to view that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a huge deal (when you surpass the learning curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website checklists 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.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply take care of everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Optimize Your WordPress Database
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s special 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; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, however those restrictions restrict adaptability and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled 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 way their rates is structured permits less adaptability also. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also expensive to pay based on a number of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to factor extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish 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 permit on an Individual or Service. And this point goes even more if your website needs many plugins for complete performance.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot really do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for performance & not needing to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you really don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Optimize Your WordPress Database
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even consist of a number of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You can’t use them to spread out the cost of your plan,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, especially compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, however exactly what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a terrific service with a solid product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to stress over hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more flexibility/ much better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve valued their balance of user-friendly 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 a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Optimize Your WordPress Database