WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Speed Up Website Images
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to offer handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Speed Up Website Images
While they have plenty of competition in both the general 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 growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all differ in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer 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 truly purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, 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 + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as an entire, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it’s important to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, normally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but 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 Website Images
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different tasks because 2012. I don’t use them for my main sites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies pointed out. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Website Images
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, but the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more complex the solutions to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text website with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
But a slow site does not suggest that you need a bigger, much better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however often it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might simply need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to remain quick as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … however either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (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 determine the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Speed Up Website Images
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a personalized 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 one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin packing the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right from package, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or complicated the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services since you are totally free to focus on speed elements that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, however they likewise offer international data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Speed Up Website Images
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 Images
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has 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 aspect of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never know if the story is because they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or an expense.
I want to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need an investment of cash, time and expertise.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the website through chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually interacted with actually understood the great 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 client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Speed Up Website Images
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly due to the fact that their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). However they appear to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress 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 commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website protected is still ultimately 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 whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a lot of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually helped customers who have been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a normally expensive circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Speed Up Website Images
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both of which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your setup 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 entire month-to-month fee right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time repairing problems.
Essentially, if your time is much better designated away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Speed Up Website Images
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of consumers 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 procedure, the very first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on advancement & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that process occur. The phone support is a crucial aspect, especially having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any previous habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, so many of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this review revision. Speed Up Website Images
WP Engine excels not just on present functions but also on creating brand-new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented new designer features that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have changed drastically considering that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand adequate web development to integrate best practices into application & jobs 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And numerous are valid due to the fact that they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some clients. I do not utilize them for this site since I do not require much of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Speed Up Website Images
All that stated, here are some of the larger image drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be quite complicated– particularly if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can lead to some designers making mistakes varying from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website open to the general public or just not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they already do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain best practice for the general user. Speed Up Website Images
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to view that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a substantial deal (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site checklists to help troubleshoot all sorts of concerns.
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 why they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just look after all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Speed Up Website Images
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin behavior for great reasons, but those restrictions restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled 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 allows for less adaptability too. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based on a variety of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to aspect additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want 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 enable on an Individual or Service. And this point goes even more if your site requires lots of plugins for complete functionality.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t truly do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up needing to do a painful migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for efficiency & not having to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions 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 anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically visiting frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Speed Up Website Images
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) managed more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even consist of much of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs additional costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the rate. You can’t utilize them to expand the expense of your plan,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however 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 offer a fantastic service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to stress over hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see what you consider their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more flexibility/ much better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer support.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Speed Up Website Images