WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Tips To Speed Up WordPress Website
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to provide handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Tips To Speed Up WordPress Website
While they have a lot of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all vary in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, but 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 cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as a whole, 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, but it’s important to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a various method. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Tips To Speed Up WordPress Website
I’ve utilized WP Engine for different jobs since 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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. Tips To Speed Up WordPress Website
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, however the guideline is that the more intricate your website is, the more complicated the options to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine 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 typically additional plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a slow website does not mean that you require a bigger, much better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple 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. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are trying to carry 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 aid to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … but either you or a developer must execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually tailored servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and recognize the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Tips To Speed Up WordPress Website
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough data to begin filling the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that method no matter how big or intricate the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are free to focus on speed elements that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an incorporated CDN, but they also offer worldwide data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Tips To Speed Up WordPress Website
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Tips To Speed Up WordPress Website
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has 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 hard thing about consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever know if the story is because they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of loan, time and knowledge.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all three boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site via chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually connected with actually understood the great functions of WordPress and has 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 client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of a number of problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Tips To Speed Up WordPress Website
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically since their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the downsides). But they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security essentials are relatively 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something happens. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a lot of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have assisted clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tedious & an usually costly scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Tips To Speed Up WordPress Website
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more gos to (ie, basically as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k check outs each month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is fantastic.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 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 fee right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is better designated far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Tips To Speed Up WordPress Website
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that process occur. The phone support is a key element, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on launching a near-complete site all at once.
They do not have any prior routines or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and supply support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, numerous of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Tips To Speed Up WordPress Website
WP Engine stands out not only on present functions but likewise on producing brand-new, advanced hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented new developer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web advancement best practices have actually altered significantly considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know enough web development to incorporate best practices into execution & jobs 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many stand because they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some customers. I don’t utilize them for this site due to the fact that I do not need many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Tips To Speed Up WordPress Website
All that stated, here are a few of the larger photo disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be rather made complex– particularly if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the special backend can cause some designers making errors ranging from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site available to the public or just not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they already do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss best practice for the general user. Tips To Speed Up WordPress Website
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 sites, however I needed to watch that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a substantial offer (when you get past the learning curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site checklists to help repair all sorts of issues.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just take care of everything.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Tips To Speed Up WordPress Website
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods terms of lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or really real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further 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 local storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, however those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured enables less flexibility as well. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s also pricey to pay based on a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to aspect additional hosting bills 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 manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes further if your site needs lots of plugins for full performance.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot really do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for performance & not having to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you really don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Tips To Speed Up WordPress Website
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that does not even include much of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the cost. You can’t use them to spread out the cost of your strategy,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are looking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, but exactly what is best for you based upon your objectives, budget, resources & practices.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to fret about hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a fit 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 think about their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more freedom/ much better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Tips To Speed Up WordPress Website