WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Website Migration
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to provide managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Host Website Migration
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all differ in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as an entire, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is essential to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a various approach. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Host Website Migration
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different tasks given that 2012. I don’t use them for my main websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current customer on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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. Web Host Website Migration
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your site is, the more intricate the services to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a few basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine 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 generally extra plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish website does not imply that you need a larger, better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain fast as you grow. There are a lot of options … but either you or a developer must execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have tailored servers with extremely aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Host Website Migration
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have such a tailored caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, 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 determines how quickly the server returned enough data to start packing the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right from package, and have it remain that way no matter how big or complicated the site gets.
*Note 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 might get with other services given that you are free to concentrate on speed factors that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an integrated CDN, but they likewise supply global information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Website Migration
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Website Migration
Consumer support has 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 a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has 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 said, the difficult aspect of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever know if the story is due to the fact that they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to try to find access, systems, and understanding, all 3 need a financial investment of cash, time and expertise.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the website through chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has connected with actually knew the fine 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 during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Website Migration
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly due to the fact that their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the downsides). However they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe 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 & all set to roll back if something happens. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have helped clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a normally expensive situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Web Host Website Migration
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k sees monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates 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 regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or designer time fixing problems.
Basically, if your time is better designated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Host Website Migration
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first client type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on development & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev constructs the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the site 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 fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is irritated at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a much better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is an essential element, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd client type is a start-up site owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s special backend and plan on introducing a near-complete site at one time.
They do not have any previous routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make promises and offer support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, numerous of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this review modification. Web Host Website Migration
WP Engine excels not just on existing features but likewise on developing brand-new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out new designer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have actually changed drastically considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to integrate best practices into implementation & 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 a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous are valid 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 fit for some consumers. I do not use them for this site due to the fact that I do not need a lot of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Website Migration
All that said, here are a few of the larger picture drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be rather complicated– specifically if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the special backend can cause some developers making mistakes varying from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website open to the public or just not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they already do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the basic user. Web Host Website Migration
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to enjoy that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a big deal (as soon as you surpass the learning curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website checklists to assist repair all sorts of concerns.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just take care of it all.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. 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 do not have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Host Website Migration
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of reducing & increasing complexity.
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 rather uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for excellent reasons, however those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured allows for less flexibility also. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a variety of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to factor extra 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 allow on a Personal or Service. And this point goes further if your website needs lots of plugins for full performance.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are planning to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you can’t actually do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for efficiency & not needing to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically logging in often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Host Website Migration
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” site owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even consist of a number of the functions you do not 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 limits needs additional costs & technical execution 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 websites, you have to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is an expensive option, especially compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest overall, however what is best for you based on your objectives, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a solid item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to fret about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see exactly what you think of their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more liberty/ better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer support.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Web Host Website Migration