WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Optimized WordPress Hosting
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first business to provide managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Optimized WordPress Hosting
While they have lots of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all differ in services supplied. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, 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 content + functionality.
Every competitor 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 traditional 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 is essential to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a various approach. This evaluation 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. Optimized WordPress Hosting
I have actually used WP Engine for different jobs since 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies pointed out. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or specialist to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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. Optimized WordPress Hosting
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, but the general rule is that the more intricate your site is, the more complicated the solutions to speed become.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text website with a few standard plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually additional plugins, customized style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
However a sluggish website doesn’t suggest that you require a bigger, better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may simply need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to stay quickly as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … however either you or a developer 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 as well as advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and recognize the specific chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Optimized WordPress Hosting
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to begin loading the page.
It’s nice to have that kind of speed right from the box, and have it remain that method no matter how big or complex the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are free to focus on speed elements that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, however they also offer international information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Optimized WordPress Hosting
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Optimized WordPress Hosting
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position 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 business has grown & changed 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 feature of consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never understand 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 review, the important part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need a financial investment of loan, time and expertise.
Based on my current interactions and research study, 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 fast, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site through chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has connected with actually understood the fine operations of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (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 rep was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to expertly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Optimized WordPress Hosting
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). However they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security basics 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 straightforward, the obligation 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 & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something takes place. Given that you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a great deal of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted customers who have been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & an usually costly situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Optimized WordPress Hosting
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just as much as 25,000 visits per month.
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 simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both which enable more storage & more visits (ie, generally as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time repairing problems.
Basically, if your time is better assigned away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Optimized WordPress Hosting
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the website straight 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 fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that process happen. 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 start-up site owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on releasing a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any previous habits or customizeds 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 guarantees and provide support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, so many of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this review revision. Optimized WordPress Hosting
WP Engine stands out not only on present functions but likewise on developing brand-new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new developer features that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even general web advancement best practices have actually altered significantly because I started observing the market *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to incorporate best practices into implementation & projects with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous are valid since they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some customers. I don’t use them for this website because I do not require much of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Optimized WordPress Hosting
All that said, here are a few of the bigger image downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be rather complicated– particularly if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they also do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can lead to some developers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev site open to the public or just not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they already do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never explain best practice for the basic user. Optimized WordPress Hosting
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to see 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-made backend isn’t really going to be a huge offer (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website checklists to help troubleshoot all sorts of issues.
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 why they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Optimized WordPress Hosting
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or very real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for excellent factors, however those bans restrict flexibility and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured permits less flexibility also. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based on a number of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to aspect extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible 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 allow on a Personal or Business. And this point goes further if your site requires numerous plugins for full functionality.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are planning to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you can’t truly do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up having to do an agonizing migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, 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 typically paying for efficiency & not needing to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the features you’re getting, you really do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Optimized WordPress Hosting
Many shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even include a number of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits requires additional expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the rate. You can’t use them to spread out the cost of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a costly option, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, but exactly what is finest for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a terrific service with a solid product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to stress over hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see what you consider their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more flexibility/ better prices than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Optimized WordPress Hosting