WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Speed Up Website Iis
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to provide managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Speed Up Website Iis
While they have a lot of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all differ in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater price 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 options, however as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is very important to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a different technique. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Speed Up Website Iis
I’ve used WP Engine for numerous tasks since 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main websites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business mentioned. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer 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 Website Iis
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, but the guideline is that the more complex your website is, the more complex the services to speed become.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective 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, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a slow website doesn’t indicate that you need a bigger, better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, however in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might just have to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain quick as you grow. There are a lot of services … however either you or a developer should implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and determine the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Speed Up Website Iis
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform due to the fact that 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, extra scripts, a lot of 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 data to start filling the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that method no matter how big or complicated the site 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 may get with other services given that you are complimentary to concentrate on speed factors that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, but they likewise offer international information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Speed Up Website Iis
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Speed Up Website Iis
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. 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 position a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of 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 & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard thing about customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever know if the story is due to the fact that they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I want to try to find access, systems, and knowledge, all three need a financial investment of money, time and proficiency.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site by means of chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has interacted with really knew the fine functions of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of a number of problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Speed Up Website Iis
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly due to the fact that their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are fairly 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 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 obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something happens. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security concerns 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 assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped customers who have been. It’s aggravating, laborious & a normally costly circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Speed Up Website Iis
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and only up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which enable more storage & more visits (ie, generally as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & 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 month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire 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 discuss any personal or developer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is better allocated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Speed Up Website Iis
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first customer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on development & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that process happen. The phone support is an essential aspect, specifically having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third consumer type is a startup site owner that has the budget and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s special backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website all at once.
They do not have any prior practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, so many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this review revision. Speed Up Website Iis
WP Engine stands out not only on existing features however also on developing new, advanced hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new developer features that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually changed significantly given that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web development to integrate best practices into implementation & tasks with designers.
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 best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And lots of are valid due to the fact that they just aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some customers. I don’t use them for this website because I do not require a lot of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Speed Up Website Iis
All that said, here are a few of the larger photo downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be rather complicated– particularly if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the special backend can cause some designers making mistakes varying from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website open up to the public or just not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they already do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the basic user. Speed Up Website Iis
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to see that video multiple 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 customized backend isn’t really going to be a substantial deal (when you surpass the learning curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection 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 just look after everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Speed Up Website Iis
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also connected 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 have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for great factors, but those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured enables less adaptability too. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise costly to pay based on a variety of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to element 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 deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Business. And this point goes even more if your site needs lots of plugins for full functionality.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot truly do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for efficiency & not needing to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the features you’re getting, you really do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically visiting regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Speed Up Website Iis
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even include much of the functions 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 limitations requires additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the rate. You can’t use them to expand the expense of your plan,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a pricey option, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, however exactly what is finest for you based on your goals, budget, resources & practices.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a fantastic service with a solid item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions 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 do not wish to worry about hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more freedom/ much better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Speed Up Website Iis