WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Website Content Migration Strategy
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to provide handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Website Content Migration Strategy
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as an entire, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is essential to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, usually with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a different technique. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Website Content Migration Strategy
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous projects considering that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies discussed. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or specialist to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “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 Strategy
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your site is, the more complex the solutions to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with an affordable shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually extra plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site does not indicate that you require a bigger, better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to remain quick as you grow. There are lots of options … but either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and determine the exact chokepoint to get your website moving. Website Content Migration Strategy
They don’t even enable 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 installs still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin loading the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right from package, and have it stay that method no matter how big or complex the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services since you are complimentary to focus on speed aspects that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, but they likewise provide worldwide information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Website Content Migration Strategy
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 Strategy
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough thing about consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is since they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or an expense.
I want to try to find access, systems, and understanding, all 3 need a financial investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the website via chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually connected with in fact understood the fine operations of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Website Content Migration Strategy
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically due to the fact that their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the downsides). However they seem to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a huge neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site protected is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something takes place. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a great deal of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have assisted customers who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tedious & a normally costly scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Website Content Migration Strategy
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact 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 just a couple dollars per month.
Both which permit more storage & more visits (ie, basically as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & 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 visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging location) 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 earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time fixing concerns.
Basically, if your time is much better assigned away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Website Content Migration Strategy
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of clients 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 procedure, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on development & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to handle 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 automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that process take place. The phone support is a key element, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup site owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s special backend and intend on releasing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They don’t have any previous routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make promises and provide support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Website Content Migration Strategy
WP Engine stands out not just on existing features however likewise on producing new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have actually altered significantly since I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to incorporate finest practices into implementation & projects 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And lots of are valid because they simply aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some consumers. I don’t use them for this website because I do not need much of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Website Content Migration Strategy
All that said, here are some of the larger photo disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be quite complicated– specifically if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can lead to some designers making errors ranging from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open to the public or simply not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they currently do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever discuss finest practice for the general user. Website Content Migration Strategy
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to enjoy that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a substantial deal (as soon as you get past the learning curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to learn 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 site checklists to assist repair 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.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of it all.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Website Content Migration Strategy
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods terms of decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or really real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for great factors, but those restrictions restrict flexibility and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However 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 as well. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, however it’s also costly to pay based upon a variety of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to element 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 website on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Service. And this point goes even more if your site requires numerous plugins for full functionality.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are planning to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you cannot truly do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up having to do a painful migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for performance & not needing to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Website Content Migration Strategy
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even include a number of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You can’t use them to spread out the cost of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a costly option, especially compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, but what is best for you based on your objectives, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a strong item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to stress over hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you think about their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more flexibility/ much better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Website Content Migration Strategy