WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Speed Up A WordPress Website
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to offer managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Speed Up A WordPress Website
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all vary in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as an entire, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is necessary to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a different technique. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Speed Up A WordPress Website
I’ve utilized WP Engine for different tasks because 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business discussed. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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. Speed Up A WordPress Website
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, however the guideline is that the more complicated your website is, the more complicated the solutions to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text site with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally additional plugins, customized style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
But a sluggish website does not mean that you require a bigger, much better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might simply have to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to remain quick as you grow. There are plenty of options … but either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have tailored servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Speed Up A WordPress Website
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs because they have such a tailored caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough information to begin loading the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that method 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 may get with other services considering that you are totally free to focus on speed aspects that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, however they likewise provide worldwide data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Speed Up A WordPress Website
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Speed Up A WordPress Website
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has actually grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough feature of consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is since they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to look for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing much better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site through chat.
Based on their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually connected with really understood the fine functions of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after a number of problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Speed Up A WordPress Website
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,especially due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they appear to understand 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 distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are relatively straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website protected is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually helped clients who have been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a generally expensive scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Speed Up A WordPress Website
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k gos to each month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole 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 month-to-month fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time repairing concerns.
Basically, if your time is better allocated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Speed Up A WordPress Website
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing basic site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that process occur. The phone support is an essential element, specifically being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third consumer type is a startup site owner that has the budget and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any prior routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once 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 kind of client.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, many of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this review modification. Speed Up A WordPress Website
WP Engine stands out not only on existing functions but likewise on developing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented new developer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web development finest practices have actually changed radically because I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to incorporate best practices into implementation & 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And many are valid due to the fact that they simply aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some consumers. I do not utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not require many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Speed Up A WordPress Website
All that said, here are a few of the larger picture downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite made complex– especially if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they also do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the special backend can lead to some designers making errors ranging from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or simply not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice consumers than they already do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the general user. Speed Up A WordPress Website
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to view that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a substantial offer (as soon as you get past the learning curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of site checklists to help troubleshoot all sorts of problems.
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 that they do all this. And most of the times, support will just take care of everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Speed Up A WordPress Website
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for great factors, however those restrictions restrict flexibility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured permits less adaptability also. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also expensive to pay based upon a variety of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Business. And this point goes even more if your website needs many plugins for complete functionality.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are planning to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you cannot truly do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for performance & not needing to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Speed Up A WordPress Website
Many shared hosting servers can manage the very 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 fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that doesn’t even include a number of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the cost. You cannot use them to spread out the expense of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are looking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, especially compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest total, however 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 provide a terrific service with a strong product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to fret about hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see exactly what you consider their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more freedom/ better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Speed Up A WordPress Website