WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Ways To Speed Up WordPress Website
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to supply managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Ways To Speed Up WordPress Website
While they have plenty 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 cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all differ in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
In either 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 comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a different approach. This evaluation 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. Ways To Speed Up WordPress Website
I have actually used WP Engine for various projects since 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present client on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies pointed out. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer service.” 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. Ways To Speed Up WordPress Website
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, but the general rule is that the more complex your website is, the more intricate the services to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text site with a couple of standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with an inexpensive shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
But a sluggish website does not imply that you need a bigger, better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, but often it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply need to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to stay quickly as you grow. There are plenty of options … however either you or a developer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Ways To Speed Up WordPress Website
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin loading the page.
It’s nice to have that kind of speed right out of package, and have it remain 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 even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are complimentary to concentrate on speed elements that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, but they also offer international information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Ways 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 Ways To Speed Up WordPress Website
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of 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 & 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 said, the difficult feature of consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never understand if the story is due to the fact that they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 require a financial investment of money, time and know-how.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all three boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has connected with actually understood the great operations of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after several concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Ways To Speed Up WordPress Website
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly due to the fact that their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). However they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security basics 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 utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, 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 happens. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a great deal of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have assisted customers who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & an usually pricey scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Ways To Speed Up WordPress Website
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and just up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both which enable more storage & more sees (ie, basically as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually 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 expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time repairing issues.
Essentially, if your time is much better designated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Ways To Speed Up WordPress Website
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is an essential element, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third consumer type is a startup website 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 distinct backend and plan on launching a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any prior practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this review modification. Ways To Speed Up WordPress Website
WP Engine stands out not just on existing features however also on developing new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new designer features that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even general web advancement best practices have changed radically considering that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web advancement to integrate best practices into execution & projects with developers.
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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And numerous stand because they just 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 consumers. I do not utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not need a number of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Ways To Speed Up WordPress Website
All that said, here are a few of the larger image disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite made complex– especially if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. 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 features are there, the unique backend can result in some developers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev site open to the public or simply not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they currently do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever discuss finest practice for the general user. Ways To Speed Up WordPress Website
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to enjoy that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (once you get past the learning curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website lists to assist 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 they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply take care of everything.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Ways To Speed Up WordPress Website
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin habits for good reasons, but those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured enables less adaptability too. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise costly to pay based on a number of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want 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 Business. And this point goes further if your website needs numerous plugins for full functionality.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t truly do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up having to do a painful migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for performance & not needing to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically logging in frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Ways To Speed Up WordPress Website
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed 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 relatively transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even include a number of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You can’t use them to spread out the expense of your plan,particularly if you are hitting 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 a pricey alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, but what is best for you based on your objectives, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a strong product. Their prices 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 sites that do not wish to stress over hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see exactly what you think about their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more liberty/ better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
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 test to streamline things. Ways To Speed Up WordPress Website