WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Speed Up Access To Website
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to provide handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Speed Up Access To Website
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all vary in services supplied. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides 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 website content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as an entire, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is very important to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a various method. This evaluation 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. Speed Up Access To Website
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various jobs considering that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their discount pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Speed Up Access To Website
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your website is, the more complicated the options to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text site with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally extra plugins, custom-made theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish website does not suggest that you require a larger, much better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may just need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain quickly as you grow. There are lots of solutions … but either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have personalized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Speed Up Access To Website
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional 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 information to begin packing the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complex the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are totally free to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an incorporated CDN, but they also offer global information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Speed Up Access To 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 Access To Website
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a huge 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 feature of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never know if the story is due to the fact that they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I want to search for access, systems, and knowledge, all three require a financial investment of loan, time and knowledge.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the website through chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually connected with really knew the fine functions of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (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 just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after several concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Speed Up Access To Website
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially because their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they appear to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are fairly uncomplicated:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a lot of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & a generally pricey circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Speed Up Access To Website
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both which allow for more storage & more check outs (ie, essentially as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or developer time fixing issues.
Generally, if your time is better designated far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Speed Up Access To Website
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at having to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re also 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 process take place. The phone support is a key element, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup website owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on releasing a near-complete website at one time.
They don’t have any previous routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Speed Up Access To Website
WP Engine stands out not just on existing functions but also on producing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually changed radically because I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand adequate web development to integrate finest practices into application & tasks with developers.
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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And many stand because they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some customers. I do not utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not require a number of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Speed Up Access To Website
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger photo disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be quite made complex– especially if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can cause some designers making mistakes varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website open to the general public or merely not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe 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 & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss best practice for the basic user. Speed Up Access To Website
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to see that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (once you get past the learning curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of site checklists to help repair 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.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply take care of all of it.
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 many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Speed Up Access To Website
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s distinct 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; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or extremely genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, but those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured permits less versatility too. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, however it’s also expensive to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element 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 manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Service. And this point goes even more if your website requires numerous plugins for full performance.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are wanting 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 customer got required & ended up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for efficiency & not needing to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you truly do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Speed Up Access To Website
Many shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even consist of a lot of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to spread out the cost of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are looking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is an expensive option, especially compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest total, but exactly what is finest for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a great service with a strong item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to stress over hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more liberty/ much better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Speed Up Access To Website