WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Website Content Migration Tools
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first business to provide managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Website Content Migration Tools
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all vary in services provided. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying 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 greater price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as a whole, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is very important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, usually with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a various method. This evaluation 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 Tools
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various projects given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies pointed out. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying customer or expert 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 “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. Website Content Migration Tools
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, but the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more intricate the solutions to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with an economical shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
However a sluggish site does not indicate that you require a bigger, better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and enhancing 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 meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might just need to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to remain fast as you grow. There are lots of services … however either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have actually personalized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Website Content Migration Tools
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a personalized 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 clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to start packing the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or complicated 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 may get with other services because you are free to focus on speed elements that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, however they also offer international information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Website Content Migration Tools
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 Tools
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are truly offering 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 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 lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult feature of client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever know if the story is because they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to look for access, systems, and understanding, all 3 need a financial investment of cash, time and competence.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing far better hitting all three boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually connected with actually understood the great workings of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition 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 “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Website Content Migration Tools
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically because their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). However they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a huge neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site secure is still eventually 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 & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Considering that 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 also works closely with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have assisted clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a normally costly situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Website Content Migration Tools
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both which permit more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k visits per month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 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 charge right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or developer time fixing issues.
Generally, if your time is much better allocated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly 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 focus on their core markets. Website Content Migration Tools
Like I said 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 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first customer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on advancement & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that process occur. The phone support is a crucial factor, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on launching a near-complete site all at once.
They don’t have any previous practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, numerous of the improvements 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 is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this review modification. Website Content Migration Tools
WP Engine stands out not just on present functions but also on producing new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new developer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually altered significantly since I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to incorporate finest practices into execution & 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 very best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of stand because they just aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some customers. I don’t use them for this website because I do not need a number of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Website Content Migration Tools
All that stated, here are a few of the larger image disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be quite complicated– especially if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually 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 are there, the special backend can cause some designers making errors varying from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content problems 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 believe they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they already do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the basic user. Website Content Migration Tools
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to enjoy that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (once you get past the learning curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website checklists to help 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 that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Website Content Migration Tools
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for excellent reasons, but those restrictions limit versatility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured enables less flexibility also. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also costly to pay based on a number of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to element additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes further if your website requires numerous plugins for full performance.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you cannot truly do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another email company mid-campaign.
Either way, 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 typically paying for efficiency & not needing to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically logging in often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Website Content Migration Tools
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even include many of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires extra costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, but exactly what is best for you based on your objectives, budget, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a great 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 brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to stress over hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a suitable 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 set up and see exactly what you consider their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more liberty/ better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Website Content Migration Tools