WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Website Migration Done
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to provide handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Website Migration Done
While they have a lot of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as a whole, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is very important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual 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 choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Website Migration Done
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different tasks considering that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class client 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 Migration Done
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, but the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more complex the options to speed become.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text website with a couple of basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with an affordable shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally extra plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site does not imply that you need a bigger, better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, however sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may just need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain quick as you grow. There are a lot of options … but either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have personalized servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and identify the specific chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Website Migration Done
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, 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 loading the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that way no matter how big or complicated the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services given that you are free to focus on speed factors that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an incorporated CDN, but they likewise provide international data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Website Migration Done
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Website Migration Done
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put 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 difficult thing about customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody 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 point out in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or an expense.
I like to look for access, systems, and understanding, all three need an investment of loan, time and proficiency.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing much better hitting all 3 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 everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually communicated with actually understood the great workings of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of several concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Website Migration Done
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly due to the fact that their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security basics are fairly uncomplicated:
- 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 business arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe 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 everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something happens. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have helped customers who have actually been. It’s aggravating, laborious & a normally pricey circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Website Migration Done
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which allow for more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of little WordPress sites 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 designer’s) time, their pricing is fantastic.
Just running WordPress updates every month & 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 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 whole 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 monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or designer time fixing problems.
Basically, if your time is better allocated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Website Migration Done
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first client type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on development & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a much better host.
They’re also 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 procedure occur. The phone support is a crucial factor, especially having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third consumer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s special backend and intend on launching a near-complete site at one time.
They do not have any prior routines or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, so many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. Website Migration Done
WP Engine excels not only on present features however also on producing brand-new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out new developer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually changed drastically considering that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to integrate best practices into application & projects 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous are valid because they merely aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some clients. I do not utilize them for this website because I do not require much of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Website Migration Done
All that said, here are a few of the bigger picture disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be quite made complex– especially if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can lead to some designers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website open to the public or just not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they currently do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain finest practice for the basic user. Website Migration Done
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to see that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (when you get past the knowing curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of site checklists to assist troubleshoot 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.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Website Migration Done
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s unique 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; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, but those bans limit versatility and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured enables less adaptability also. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also pricey to pay based upon a variety of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Business. And this point goes further if your website needs lots of plugins for full performance.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot really do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up needing to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not needing to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Website Migration Done
Many shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even include much of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits 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 projects or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to expand the cost of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are wanting to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a costly choice, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best total, however what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget, resources & practices.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a terrific service with a strong product. Their rates 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 savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to stress over hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see what you consider their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more freedom/ better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Website Migration Done