WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Website Migration Moz
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 specifically for WordPress. Website Migration Moz
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all differ in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides 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 site material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is very important to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a different approach. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Website Migration Moz
I’ve utilized WP Engine for numerous projects considering that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a current client on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer 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 Moz
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your website is, the more intricate the services to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a few standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically additional plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a slow site does not suggest that you need a larger, much better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, however in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to remain fast as you grow. There are lots of options … however either you or a designer must execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually tailored servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. 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 Moz
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other 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 great to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or complicated the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are free to concentrate on speed elements that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, but they also offer global data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Website Migration Moz
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Website Migration Moz
Customer support has 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, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among 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 actually 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 stated, the difficult feature of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is because they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or an expense.
I want to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all three require a financial investment of money, time and competence.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site via chat.
Based upon their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually communicated with really understood the great workings of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to expertly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of numerous problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Website Migration Moz
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically since their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security essentials are fairly simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something happens. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a great deal of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. 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 sites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, laborious & a generally costly scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Website Migration Moz
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both of which permit more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k check outs each month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly cost 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 personal or developer time fixing concerns.
Basically, if your time is better allocated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Website Migration Moz
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first customer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on development & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev constructs the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing basic website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a 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 procedure happen. The phone support is a key element, specifically having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a startup site owner that has the budget and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on launching a near-complete website at one time.
They don’t have any prior routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make promises and provide support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, so many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this review modification. Website Migration Moz
WP Engine stands out not only on present functions but likewise on developing brand-new, innovative hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new developer features that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have changed significantly since I started observing the market *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to incorporate finest practices into execution & 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the 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 websites). And numerous stand since they simply aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some consumers. I don’t use them for this website since I do not need much of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Website Migration Moz
All that stated, here are a few of the larger image disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be rather made complex– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they also do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can result in some designers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site available to the general public or merely not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they currently do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain best practice for the basic user. Website Migration Moz
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to enjoy that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a huge deal (when you surpass the learning curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
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 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 most of the times, support will just look after everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Website Migration Moz
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin habits for good reasons, but those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured enables less flexibility too. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s also expensive to pay based on a number of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to factor additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Business. And this point goes even more if your website requires lots of plugins for full functionality.
The very same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you cannot really do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up needing to do an agonizing migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually 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 truly do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Website Migration Moz
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned previously that doesn’t even include a number of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits requires additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the rate. You can’t use them to expand the cost of your plan,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, especially compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, however what is finest for you based upon your goals, budget, resources & habits.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a great service with a solid product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to worry about hosting issues.
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 guarantee. So do a test set up and see what you think of their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more freedom/ much better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Website Migration Moz