WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Website Migration Images
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to offer handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Website Migration Images
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all vary in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the website 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 options, but as an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is essential to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a different approach. This review will 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 Images
I have actually used WP Engine for various jobs given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “stunning 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 Images
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, however the guideline is that the more complicated your site is, the more complicated the options to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom-made theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish website does not suggest that you need a bigger, much better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply have to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to stay quickly as you grow. There are lots of solutions … but either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the exact chokepoint to get your website moving. Website Migration Images
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough data to start loading the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that way no matter how big or complex the site 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 because you are free to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an integrated CDN, but they likewise provide worldwide data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Website Migration Images
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Website Migration Images
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are really offering 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 one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard thing about client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never understand if the story is due to the fact that they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I want to try to find access, systems, and knowledge, all three need an investment of money, time and proficiency.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has engaged with actually knew the fine functions of WordPress and has 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 client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Website Migration Images
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically since their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). But they seem 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 suggests 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 application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something takes place. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a great deal of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a generally expensive situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Website Migration Images
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, dependable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same price 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 each month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more check outs (ie, essentially as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup 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 whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any sees 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 website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or designer time repairing problems.
Generally, if your time is better allocated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Website Migration Images
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on advancement & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous standard website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that process take place. The phone support is a key element, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd customer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any previous routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Website Migration Images
WP Engine stands out not just on present features however also on creating brand-new, innovative hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented new designer functions that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even general web development finest practices have actually changed radically because I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to incorporate finest practices into execution & jobs 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 very best fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And lots of are valid due to the fact that they just aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some customers. I do not use them for this website because I do not require a lot of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Website Migration Images
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger image downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be rather made complex– specifically if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can lead to some developers making errors ranging from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site available to the public or just not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they already do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever explain finest practice for the basic user. Website Migration Images
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to watch that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once 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 learning curve). However for many, 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 myriad 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 why they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply look after all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not have 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 anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Website Migration Images
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for great reasons, however those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured enables less versatility also. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a variety of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Company. And this point goes even more if your site needs many plugins for full performance.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot actually do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do a painful migration to another email company mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for performance & not needing to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Website Migration Images
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) managed more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even consist of a lot of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs extra expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to spread out the expense of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are looking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a costly option, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however exactly what is finest for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a fantastic service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to worry about hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see exactly what you consider their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more flexibility/ much better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And last but not least, 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 simplify things. Website Migration Images