WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Speed Up Mobile Website
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to provide managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Speed Up Mobile Website
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name recognition and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, 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 variation: They all differ in services supplied. Some simply 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 purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as a whole, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is essential to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great 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 choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Speed Up Mobile Website
I’ve used WP Engine for different tasks since 2012. I don’t use them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies pointed out. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their promotion pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Speed Up Mobile Website
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, but the general rule is that the more complex your site is, the more complex the services to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a few basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally extra plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a slow site does not indicate that you need a bigger, much better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply need to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to stay fast as you grow. There are lots of options … however either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have customized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and recognize the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Speed Up Mobile Website
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a tailored caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures 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 stay that method no matter how big or intricate the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an incorporated CDN, but they also offer worldwide data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Speed Up Mobile 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 Mobile Website
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are actually 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 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 grown & altered 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 tough thing about customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is due to the fact that they spoke to 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 business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to try to find access, systems, and knowledge, all three require an investment of cash, time and knowledge.
Based upon my current interactions and research, 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 available everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually communicated with really knew the great operations of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Speed Up Mobile Website
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,especially because their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But they seem to understand 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 indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something takes place. 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 also works closely with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted clients who have been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a generally costly situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Speed Up Mobile Website
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and only approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, dependable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both which permit more storage & more visits (ie, basically as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is remarkable.
Simply 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 check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly 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 fixing issues.
Generally, if your time is much better allocated far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Speed Up Mobile Website
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on development & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that process take place. The phone support is a key element, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a start-up website owner that has the budget and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on introducing 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, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Speed Up Mobile Website
WP Engine stands out not only on existing features but likewise on creating new, innovative hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented new designer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web development best practices have actually altered drastically because I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to incorporate finest practices into application & projects with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And lots of are valid because they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this website because I do not require many of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Speed Up Mobile Website
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger photo drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be rather complicated– specifically if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the special backend can cause some designers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website available to the general public or simply not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they already do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain finest practice for the basic user. Speed Up Mobile Website
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to watch that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (when you get past the knowing curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website lists to help repair 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 they do all this. And in many cases, support will just take care of it all.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Speed Up Mobile Website
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & 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 somewhat consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for great reasons, but those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open 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, however it’s also pricey to pay based on a variety of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to aspect additional hosting costs 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 further if your website needs numerous plugins for full performance.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot actually do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending for efficiency & not having to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you truly do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Speed Up Mobile Website
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) handled more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even consist of 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 limits on local storage. Anything above the limits needs extra costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to expand the cost of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest total, however exactly what is finest for you based on your objectives, budget, resources & practices.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a fantastic service with a solid product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to worry about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think of their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more flexibility/ better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Speed Up Mobile Website