WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Website Migration Notice
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to supply handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Website Migration Notice
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services provided. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers 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 material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as a whole, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is necessary to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a different technique. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Website Migration Notice
I have actually utilized WP Engine for numerous projects since 2012. I do not use them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a current customer on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer service.” 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 Notice
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, but the guideline is that the more complicated your website is, the more intricate the options to speed become.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of fundamental plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a slow site does not suggest that you require a larger, much better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however often it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may just need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain fast as you grow. There are lots of solutions … but either you or a designer should implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually personalized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Website Migration Notice
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a customized 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 customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough information to begin packing the page.
Now here is the speed test of a standard WordPress set up. WP Engine not just gets strong TTFB times however keep in mind how comparable the First Byte and First Render are to the Unoptimized website.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or complex the site gets.
*Note 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 may get with other services because you are free to concentrate on speed factors that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, however they also provide worldwide data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Website Migration Notice
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Website Migration Notice
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a big 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 actually grown & changed 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 tough feature of client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never understand if the story is because they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I prefer to try to find gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of loan, time and knowledge.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the website via chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually connected with in fact understood the great operations of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Website Migration Notice
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly since their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). However they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are fairly straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically 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 happens. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a great deal of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually helped clients who have been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a typically costly situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Website Migration Notice
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and only up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both which permit more storage & more visits (ie, generally as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k check outs each month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup 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 entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or developer time fixing problems.
Essentially, if your time is much better allocated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Website Migration Notice
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first client type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops 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 handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is a crucial factor, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd client type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on releasing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any prior habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. Website Migration Notice
WP Engine excels not just on existing features however likewise on developing brand-new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new developer features that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even basic web development best practices have altered radically considering that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web advancement to incorporate finest practices into implementation & projects with designers.
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 plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of stand because they merely aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some consumers. I don’t use them for this website since I do not need much of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Website Migration Notice
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger photo drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite complicated– particularly if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they likewise do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can cause some designers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev website open to the public or just not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice consumers than they currently do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe best practice for the basic user. Website Migration Notice
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to view that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a huge deal (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website checklists to help troubleshoot all sorts of problems.
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 many cases, support will just take care of everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Website Migration Notice
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or extremely real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin behavior for excellent reasons, but those restrictions restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured enables less adaptability also. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also costly to pay based on a number of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to factor extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile 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 even more if your website needs lots of plugins for full functionality.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot really do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for efficiency & not having to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Website Migration Notice
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can certainly deal with 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 “small” website owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 each 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 strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the rate. You can’t utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are planning to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a costly option, especially compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest total, but exactly what is best for you based upon your goals, budget, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a fantastic service with a solid product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to stress over hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you think about their backend. Make certain to chat 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 option. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer support.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Website Migration Notice