WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Website Content Migration Checklist
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to offer managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Website Content Migration Checklist
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all vary in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer 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, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is necessary to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a various method. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Website Content Migration Checklist
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various jobs given that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying customer or specialist to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer 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. Website Content Migration Checklist
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, but the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more complex the options to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
But a sluggish site doesn’t imply that you require a bigger, much better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, however in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to stay quick as you grow. There are a lot of options … however either you or a developer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually personalized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Website Content Migration Checklist
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs 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 style, 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 information to begin packing the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right out of package, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or intricate the website 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 because you are complimentary to concentrate on speed factors that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, however they likewise provide international data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Website Content Migration Checklist
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Website Content Migration Checklist
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put 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 actually grown & altered 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 consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never understand 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 mention in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to look for access, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of loan, time and proficiency.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually communicated with in fact knew the fine functions of WordPress and has actually been able 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 representative was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after several problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Website Content Migration Checklist
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically because their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the downsides). But they seem to know that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security fundamentals 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something happens. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a great deal of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have assisted customers who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a generally costly situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Website Content Migration Checklist
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both which allow for more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as many as you can manage) 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 sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes each 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 check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or designer time fixing issues.
Essentially, if your time is much better designated away from technical issues, 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 a financial investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Website Content Migration Checklist
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is an essential factor, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any prior habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, numerous of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Website Content Migration Checklist
WP Engine stands out not only on current features but also on producing new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented new designer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have actually altered significantly given 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 incorporate best practices into application & jobs with designers.
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 very best suitable for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). 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 an excellent suitable for some customers. I do not use them for this site since I do not require many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Website Content Migration Checklist
All that said, here are some of the larger image downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be rather complicated– especially if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the special backend can cause some developers making mistakes varying from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website available to the general public or just not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they currently do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain finest practice for the general user. Website Content Migration Checklist
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to watch that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (once you surpass the learning curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of site lists to help troubleshoot 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 in many cases, support will just take care of it all.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Website Content Migration Checklist
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods terms of minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit more to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban specific plugins & admin behavior for excellent factors, however those restrictions limit flexibility and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured permits less adaptability also. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, but it’s also expensive to pay based on a number of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to aspect extra hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Service. And this point goes further if your site requires numerous plugins for complete performance.
The very same goes 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 use case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot actually do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for efficiency & not needing to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based on the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Website Content Migration Checklist
Many shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even include a lot 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 regional storage. Anything above the limits requires additional expenses & 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 sites, you need to factor those into the cost. You can’t use them to spread out the cost of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are planning to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is an expensive option, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however exactly what is best for you based on your goals, spending plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a fantastic service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to stress over hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see what you think of their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more freedom/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer service.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Website Content Migration Checklist