WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Speed Up Website Traffic
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 specifically for WordPress. Speed Up Website Traffic
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many ways -and they have broad name recognition and innovative functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed 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 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, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as an entire, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it’s important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, usually with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a different approach. This review will take a 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 Traffic
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various jobs since 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present client on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or specialist to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning 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 Traffic
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, however the guideline is that the more complex your site is, the more complex the services to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally additional plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
However a slow site doesn’t mean that you need a larger, much better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and optimizing 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 much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may just have to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain quick as you grow. There are lots of solutions … however either you or a developer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have tailored servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and determine the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Speed Up Website Traffic
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough information to begin filling the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or complex the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services since you are free to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an incorporated CDN, but they likewise provide global information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Speed Up Website Traffic
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 Traffic
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually 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 customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever know if the story is since they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to look for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of cash, time and competence.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including 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 comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually connected with in fact 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, but 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 only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of numerous concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Speed Up Website Traffic
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly since their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the downsides). But they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a very large neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security essentials 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially 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 occurs. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a great deal of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped clients who have been. It’s frustrating, tedious & a normally pricey scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Speed Up Website Traffic
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, dependable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both which permit more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k gos to per month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup 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 entire monthly cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or developer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is much better allocated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Speed Up Website Traffic
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first client type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous fundamental website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process occur. The phone support is an essential factor, especially being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a start-up site owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s special backend and plan on releasing a near-complete site at one time.
They don’t have any previous routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. Speed Up Website Traffic
WP Engine excels not just on existing features however likewise on creating brand-new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web development best practices have actually changed radically because I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to incorporate finest practices into implementation & projects with designers.
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 very best fit for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And numerous stand since they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some customers. I don’t use them for this site due to the fact that I do not need a lot of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Speed Up Website Traffic
All that said, here are a few of the larger image disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be rather complicated– particularly if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the unique backend can result in some designers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or simply not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever explain best practice for the general user. Speed Up Website Traffic
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to view that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (as soon as you get past the knowing curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website lists 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 in many cases, support will just look after it all.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Speed Up Website Traffic
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or very genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin behavior for great factors, but those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured allows for less versatility also. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise costly to pay based on a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to factor extra hosting bills 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 manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Service. And this point goes further if your website requires lots of plugins for complete functionality.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot really do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another email company mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for performance & not needing to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Speed Up Website Traffic
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr period 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 sees, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how quickly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned previously that doesn’t even consist of a lot of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to spread out the cost of your plan,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are looking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest overall, but what is best for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a terrific service with a solid item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to fret about hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think of their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more liberty/ better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve valued their balance of user-friendly 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 an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Speed Up Website Traffic