WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Website Migration Hosting
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to offer managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Website Migration Hosting
While they have plenty of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all vary in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the website 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 options, but as an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is essential to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a various approach. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Website Migration Hosting
I’ve utilized WP Engine for different tasks given that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular 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 Hosting
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, however the guideline is that the more complicated your website is, the more intricate the options to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with an affordable shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally additional plugins, customized style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish site does not mean that you need a larger, much better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, however sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply have 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 aid to remain quick as you grow. There are plenty of options … but either you or a developer should implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually customized servers with very aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and recognize the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Website Migration Hosting
They don’t even permit 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 sets up still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough information to begin loading the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right from package, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complicated the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are totally free to concentrate 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 integrated CDN, but they also offer worldwide information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Website Migration Hosting
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Website Migration Hosting
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough thing about consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never understand if the story is since they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or a cost.
I like to search for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three require an investment of cash, time and expertise.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has engaged with in fact understood the fine workings of WordPress and has actually had the ability 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 during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of numerous concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Website Migration Hosting
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly because their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). However they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security basics are relatively 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something happens. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a great deal of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have helped clients who have been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a typically costly situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Website Migration Hosting
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both which enable more storage & more check outs (ie, essentially as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k visits 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 pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes on a monthly basis. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or designer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is better assigned away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Website Migration Hosting
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first client type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process take place. The phone support is a key factor, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup site owner that has the budget and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on launching a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any previous practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these types of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this review revision. Website Migration Hosting
WP Engine stands out not only on existing features but also on developing new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new designer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web development finest practices have altered significantly considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And lots of are valid since they simply aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some consumers. I do not use them for this site because I do not need a lot of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Website Migration Hosting
All that stated, here are some of the bigger picture disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be rather made complex– especially if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the special backend can result in some designers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open to the public or simply not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they currently do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever describe finest practice for the basic user. Website Migration Hosting
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to view 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 going to be a substantial offer (when you get past the learning curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever really stops being eccentric 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.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of all of it.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Website Migration Hosting
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise related 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 somewhat uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for good reasons, however those bans restrict flexibility and experimentation if your website 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 enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured permits less adaptability as well. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element extra hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Company. And this point goes even more if your website needs lots of plugins for complete functionality.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you can’t truly do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up having to do a painful migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for efficiency & not needing to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the functions you’re getting, you truly don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally logging in often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Website Migration Hosting
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard 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 dependable VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even consist of a number of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs extra costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to expand the expense of your plan,especially if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, especially compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest total, however exactly what is best for you based upon your objectives, budget, resources & routines.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a terrific service with a solid product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to fret about hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more liberty/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Website Migration Hosting