WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Website Migration Case Study
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to provide handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Website Migration Case Study
While they have lots of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all differ in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater rate 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 an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is very important to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a different technique. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Website Migration Case Study
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different tasks because 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation 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 basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “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 Migration Case Study
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, however the guideline is that the more complex your website is, the more complex the services to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically extra plugins, customized style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a slow site does not indicate that you require a larger, better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may just have to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to stay quickly as you grow. There are a lot of options … but either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually customized servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and identify the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Website Migration Case Study
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, 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 data to start filling the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right from package, and have it stay that way no matter how big or complicated the website gets.
*Keep in mind 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 focus on speed factors that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, however they also provide global data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Website Migration Case Study
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Website Migration Case Study
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among 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 & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough thing about consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever know if the story is since they spoke 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 company deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to look for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 need an investment of loan, time and proficiency.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has connected with in fact understood the great workings of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of several concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Website Migration Case Study
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly due to the fact that their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). 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 entire Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security essentials are fairly simple:
- 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 business arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something takes place. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have helped clients who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a generally expensive situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Website Migration Case Study
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same rate from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both of which enable more storage & more check outs (ie, basically as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates every 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 gos to 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 don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or developer time fixing problems.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Website Migration Case Study
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine seems 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 process, the first client type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a key aspect, specifically having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third consumer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on launching a near-complete website all at once.
They do not have any prior practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make promises and offer support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, many of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Website Migration Case Study
WP Engine stands out not just on current functions however also on developing new, advanced hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented new developer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have actually changed significantly since I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web development to incorporate best practices into application & 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And many stand due to the fact that they just aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some clients. I don’t use them for this website due to the fact that I do not need a lot of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Website Migration Case Study
All that stated, here are a few of the larger image drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be rather made complex– particularly if you have simply sufficient 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 standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they also don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the special backend can cause some designers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev website available to the general public or just not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they already do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain best practice for the basic user. Website Migration Case Study
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to view that video numerous 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 custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (once you get past the knowing curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website checklists to assist fix 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.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just take care of all of it.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Website Migration Case Study
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s distinct 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; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or extremely genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit further to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for great factors, however those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured allows for less versatility as well. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also pricey to pay based on a number of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to aspect extra hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish 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 enable on an Individual or Business. And this point goes further if your site requires lots of plugins for full functionality.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot truly do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another email company mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for efficiency & not needing to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the functions you’re getting, you truly do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Website Migration Case Study
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even include much of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the cost. You cannot use them to expand the cost of your strategy,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a pricey option, especially compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, but exactly what is finest for you based upon your objectives, spending plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a fantastic service with a strong product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to fret about 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 assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you consider their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more freedom/ much better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Website Migration Case Study