WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Speed Up Website With Gzip
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 With Gzip
While they have lots of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal 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 really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized 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 competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as an entire, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting options.
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 examines online, normally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a different approach. This review will 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 With Gzip
I have actually used WP Engine for different jobs given that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current customer on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 With Gzip
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, but the guideline is that the more complex your site is, the more complex the services to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text website with a couple of fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish site does not indicate that you need a bigger, much better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may simply have to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to stay quick as you grow. There are plenty of options … but either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Speed Up Website With Gzip
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to start packing the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or intricate the website 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 may get with other services considering that you are complimentary to focus on speed aspects that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an incorporated CDN, however they likewise provide international information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Speed Up Website With Gzip
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 With Gzip
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position 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 business has grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough feature of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never 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 review, the fundamental part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to search for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need a financial investment of money, time and proficiency.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the site by means of chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has connected with actually knew the fine operations of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Speed Up Website With Gzip
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,especially since their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the downsides). But they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a very large community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security basics 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something happens. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a lot of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped clients who have been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a generally costly circumstance (even if you are using 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 With Gzip
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and only up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both which enable more storage & more visits (ie, basically as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes on a monthly basis. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or designer time fixing issues.
Generally, if your time is better designated far from technical problems, 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 rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Speed Up Website With Gzip
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine seems 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 very first client type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a crucial element, specifically having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third consumer type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on launching a near-complete website simultaneously.
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 promises and provide support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, numerous of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this review revision. Speed Up Website With Gzip
WP Engine stands out not only on existing features however also on producing new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented new designer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have actually altered drastically since I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to integrate finest practices into implementation & jobs 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 everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many are valid since they simply aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some clients. I don’t utilize them for this site due to the fact that I do not require a lot of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Speed Up Website With Gzip
All that said, here are some of the bigger image disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be quite made complex– particularly if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the special backend can lead to some designers making errors ranging from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open to the general public or merely not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more novice consumers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever describe finest practice for the basic user. Speed Up Website With Gzip
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to watch that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a big deal (when you get past the learning curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website checklists to assist fix 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 they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just look after everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Speed Up Website With Gzip
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit more to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban certain plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, but those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For example, 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 allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. But 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 permits less adaptability too. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s also pricey to pay based on a variety of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element additional hosting expenses 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 handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Company. And this point goes even more if your site needs many plugins for complete functionality.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you can’t actually do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another email company mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for efficiency & not needing to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the features you’re getting, you really do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually logging in often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Speed Up Website With Gzip
Many shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly handle 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” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned previously that does not even consist of a number of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits needs additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your strategy,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are wanting to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, but what is finest for you based on your goals, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a terrific service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to fret about hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see what you consider their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more flexibility/ much better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Speed Up Website With Gzip