WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Speed Up Drupal 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 Drupal Website
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 innovative features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has become a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, 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 material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as an entire, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting options.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is essential to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a various approach. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Speed Up Drupal Website
I have actually utilized WP Engine for numerous tasks given that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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. Speed Up Drupal Website
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your site is, the more complicated the solutions to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with an affordable shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually extra plugins, custom-made theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish website does not imply that you require a bigger, much better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, however often 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 trying to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might just need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain quick 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 takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Speed Up Drupal Website
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to begin filling the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right out of package, and have it remain that way no matter how big or complex the website gets.
*Note 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 because you are free to focus on speed factors that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an incorporated CDN, but they likewise supply global information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Speed Up Drupal 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 Drupal Website
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very 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 actually grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard aspect of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is due to the fact that they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to search for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require an investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site through chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually communicated with actually knew the fine workings 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 in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after several concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Speed Up Drupal Website
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly because their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a huge community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals are fairly 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 utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still eventually 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 happens. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a great deal of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted clients who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a generally costly scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Speed Up Drupal Website
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both which enable more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is fantastic.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes on a monthly basis. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time fixing issues.
Generally, if your time is better designated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an 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. Speed Up Drupal Website
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first client type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on development & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a crucial factor, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd client type is a startup site owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on launching a near-complete site simultaneously.
They don’t have any previous habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
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 improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. Speed Up Drupal Website
WP Engine stands out not only on current functions but also on developing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new designer features that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even general web advancement best practices have actually altered radically given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to integrate 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And lots of stand because they simply aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some clients. I do not utilize them for this site due to the fact that I do not need many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Speed Up Drupal Website
All that said, here are some of the larger photo downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be rather made complex– specifically if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they also do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can result in some developers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open to the general public or simply not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they currently do.
Like lots of 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 best practice for the general user. Speed Up Drupal Website
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to watch that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a substantial offer (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website checklists to help fix 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.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply look after all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Speed Up Drupal Website
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin behavior for excellent factors, however those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured enables less flexibility too. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a variety of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to element additional hosting bills 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 manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Company. And this point goes further if your website requires lots of plugins for complete performance.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot actually do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for efficiency & not needing to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Speed Up Drupal Website
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) handled more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that does not even include much of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, especially compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, but exactly what is finest for you based on your objectives, budget, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly 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 area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to worry about hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think of their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more flexibility/ much better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Speed Up Drupal Website