WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Website Migration Checklist
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to supply handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Website Migration Checklist
While they have plenty of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all vary in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + 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 take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is essential to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a various approach. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Website Migration Checklist
I’ve utilized WP Engine for different projects considering that 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
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 client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their promo 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 Checklist
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, however the guideline is that the more complicated your site is, the more complicated the services to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally extra plugins, custom-made theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
But a sluggish site doesn’t imply that you require a larger, much better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may just need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to remain quickly as you grow. There are plenty of services … however either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have customized servers with very aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and recognize the exact chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Website Migration Checklist
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough data to begin packing the page.
It’s nice to have that kind of speed right from the box, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or intricate the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services since you are complimentary to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly 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 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 Migration Checklist
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a huge 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 business has grown & changed 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 thing about consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is due to the fact that they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three need an investment of loan, time and knowledge.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). 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 comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually interacted with in fact knew the fine operations 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 between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Website Migration Checklist
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,especially since their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). But they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security essentials 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 observe that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something takes place. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tedious & a generally costly situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Website Migration Checklist
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, basically as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or developer time fixing problems.
Basically, if your time is better designated away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Website Migration Checklist
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on development & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a key factor, especially having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s special backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website at one time.
They don’t have any prior practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this type 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 improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this review modification. Website Migration Checklist
WP Engine stands out not only on present features however also on creating new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out new developer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually changed radically because I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to integrate best practices into execution & projects with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous are valid due to the fact that they merely aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some clients. I don’t use them for this website due to the fact that I do not require a lot of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Website Migration Checklist
All that said, here are some of the bigger photo downsides 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 complicated– particularly if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the special backend can result in some developers making mistakes ranging from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or merely not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice customers than they currently do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe best practice for the basic user. Website Migration Checklist
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to watch 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 customized backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (when you surpass the knowing curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website lists to help fix 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 why they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply look after it all.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Website Migration Checklist
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or extremely genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit more to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for great reasons, however those restrictions limit versatility and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured permits less flexibility also. It’s a favorable 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 big launch; are a seasonal service; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor 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 site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Business. And this point goes even more if your site needs numerous plugins for complete functionality.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot actually do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up having to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail service provider 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 normally paying for performance & not needing to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Website Migration Checklist
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that does not even include many of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the rate. You cannot use them to expand the expense of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are looking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest overall, however what is best for you based on your goals, budget, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a terrific service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to stress over hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more liberty/ better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Website Migration Checklist