WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Speed Up The Website
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first business to offer managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Speed Up The Website
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all differ in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as a whole, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it’s important to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, generally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a various method. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Speed Up The Website
I’ve utilized WP Engine for different jobs since 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer service.” 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 The Website
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, but the guideline is that the more intricate your site is, the more complex the options to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text site with a few fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with an economical shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However 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 features combined with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site doesn’t indicate that you require a larger, better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may just have to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of options … however either you or a developer should implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually personalized servers with very aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Speed Up The Website
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough data to begin filling the page.
Now here is the speed test of a standard WordPress install. WP Engine not just gets solid TTFB times however keep in mind how comparable the First Byte and First Render are to the Unoptimized website.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that way no matter how big or complicated the site 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 totally free to concentrate on speed factors that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an incorporated CDN, however they also provide international data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Speed Up The 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 The Website
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a huge emphasis 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 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 tough feature of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever know 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 mention in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I want to look for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three need a financial investment of loan, time and proficiency.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the site through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually connected with actually knew the great workings of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Speed Up The Website
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically due to the fact that their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the downsides). However they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a huge neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials are relatively 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 utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something takes place. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted customers who have been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a typically pricey scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Speed Up The Website
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, dependable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same rate 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 each month.
Both which allow for more storage & more check outs (ie, essentially as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k sees monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time repairing problems.
Generally, if your time is much better allocated 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 rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Speed Up The Website
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that process happen. The phone support is a key factor, specifically having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any previous routines or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, numerous of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Speed Up The Website
WP Engine excels not just on existing features but likewise on creating brand-new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented new developer functions that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have altered drastically because I started observing the market *. 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 execution & 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And lots of stand due to the fact that they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some customers. I do not utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not require many of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Speed Up The Website
All that said, here are a few of the larger image downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be quite made complex– particularly if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they also don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can result in some designers making errors varying from annoying redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website open to the public or merely not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more novice consumers than they currently do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never explain best practice for the general user. Speed Up The Website
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to see that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a substantial deal (once 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.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website lists to assist fix all sorts of issues.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply look after all of it.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Speed Up The Website
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for great reasons, however those bans limit flexibility and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured allows for less flexibility as well. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send, but it’s also costly to pay based on a variety of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Service. And this point goes further if your site needs lots of plugins for full performance.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you can’t actually do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another email company mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not needing to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Speed Up The Website
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic 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 manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed earlier that does not even include a number of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to spread out the cost of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are looking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a pricey option, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, however exactly what is finest for you based on your objectives, budget, resources & routines.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a terrific service with a strong item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to fret about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see what you consider their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more freedom/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer service.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Speed Up The Website