WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Visits Wpengine
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to supply managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Visits Wpengine
While they have a lot of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as an entire, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is very important to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, typically with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a various method. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Visits Wpengine
I’ve used WP Engine for numerous projects because 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), however I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies discussed. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their discount 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. Visits Wpengine
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, however the guideline is that the more intricate your website is, the more intricate the solutions to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text website with a few standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally additional plugins, customized theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
But a sluggish site doesn’t imply that you require a bigger, better server. It does indicate that you have 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 certain resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might just need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to stay fast as you grow. There are a lot of options … but either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and determine the specific chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Visits Wpengine
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, extra 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 measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to start filling the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it stay that way no matter how big or complex the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that 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 provides an incorporated CDN, but they also provide worldwide information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Visits Wpengine
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Visits Wpengine
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a huge emphasis 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 business has grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough feature of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever know if the story is due to the fact that they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to search for access, systems, and understanding, all three need a financial investment of cash, time and proficiency.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing far better striking all three boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site via chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually engaged with actually understood the fine functions of WordPress and has actually 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 client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after several problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Visits Wpengine
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically since their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the downsides). But they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are relatively uncomplicated:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t 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 everything off-site & all set to roll back if something happens. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a great deal of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a generally costly situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Visits Wpengine
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very 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 monthly.
Both which allow for more storage & more sees (ie, generally as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k visits each month on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup 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 monthly charge right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time fixing issues.
Generally, if your time is better assigned far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. 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 concentrate on their core markets. Visits Wpengine
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on development & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, 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 basic 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 site owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that process take place. The phone support is a key 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 and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on launching a near-complete site all at once.
They don’t have any previous routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, so many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this review revision. Visits Wpengine
WP Engine excels not only on present features but also on producing new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented new developer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even general web development finest practices have actually altered drastically because I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to incorporate finest practices into implementation & tasks 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling 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 areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some customers. I do not utilize them for this site because I do not require a lot of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Visits Wpengine
All that stated, here are some of the larger image downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be rather complicated– especially if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they also don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the unique backend can cause some designers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website open to the general public or just not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they currently do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe best practice for the basic user. Visits Wpengine
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made 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 remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a huge deal (once you surpass the learning curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website lists to assist troubleshoot all sorts of problems.
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 that they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply take care of all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Visits Wpengine
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods terms of minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also 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 have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or very genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit further to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, however those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured permits less adaptability too. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to aspect extra hosting costs 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 allow on a Personal or Company. And this point goes even more if your website needs numerous plugins for complete functionality.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t truly do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up needing to do an agonizing migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for efficiency & not having to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Visits Wpengine
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even include a lot of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits needs extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to expand the cost of your plan,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, however what is best for you based on your goals, budget, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a terrific service with a solid item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to worry about hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think about their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more freedom/ better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer support.
And finally, 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. Visits Wpengine