WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Speed Up Website Online Tool
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to offer handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Speed Up Website Online Tool
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all differ in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as an entire, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is very important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a different method. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Speed Up Website Online Tool
I’ve used WP Engine for numerous tasks given that 2012. I don’t use them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a present customer on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular 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 Online Tool
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, however the general rule is that the more complicated your site is, the more complex the solutions to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
However a slow site doesn’t mean that you require a bigger, much better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance 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 (almost) all speed issues. They have tailored servers with very aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the exact chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Speed Up Website Online Tool
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional 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 information to begin filling the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right from the box, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or intricate the site gets.
*Keep in mind 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 considering that you are free to focus on speed aspects that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an integrated CDN, but they also offer international information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Speed Up Website Online Tool
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 Online Tool
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard feature of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is since they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to look for access, systems, and understanding, all three require a financial investment of loan, time and knowledge.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the website via chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually connected with really understood the great operations of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Speed Up Website Online Tool
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially because their customized 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 value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole 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 concern with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials 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 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 do not lock it, keeping your site safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something takes place. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security firms 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 never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have assisted customers who have been. It’s frustrating, laborious & an usually expensive situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Speed Up Website Online Tool
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and just approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both which enable more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k gos to each month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or designer time repairing concerns.
Basically, if your time is much better designated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of 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 Online Tool
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first customer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is a crucial factor, 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 plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s special backend and plan on launching a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any previous practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and supply support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine knows 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, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this review revision. Speed Up Website Online Tool
WP Engine stands out not only on existing features but likewise on developing new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually altered drastically since I started observing the market *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web advancement to integrate finest 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 fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous are valid due to the fact that they just aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some customers. I do not use them for this site since I do not need many of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Speed Up Website Online Tool
All that said, here are a few of the bigger picture drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be rather made complex– specifically if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the distinct backend can result in some developers making mistakes ranging from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site open to the general public or simply not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they currently do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the basic user. Speed Up Website Online Tool
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to see that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (once you surpass the knowing curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of website checklists to help repair 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.
Again– they have reasons that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just take care of everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Speed Up Website Online Tool
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to reducing & increasing complexity.
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 need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit more to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for great reasons, but those bans limit versatility and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured allows for less adaptability also. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, however it’s also pricey to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to factor extra 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 enable on an Individual or Business. And this point goes even more if your site requires lots of plugins for full performance.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot truly do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up having to do a painful migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In either 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 paying for efficiency & not needing to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Speed Up Website Online Tool
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can certainly 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 “little” website owners how quickly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even include a lot of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits requires additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are looking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a costly choice, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, but exactly what is best for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a great service with a strong product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to stress over hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see what you consider their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more freedom/ much better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Speed Up Website Online Tool