WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Website Migration Process Term Paper
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to provide handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Website Migration Process Term Paper
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all differ in services supplied. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized 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 competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as an entire, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it’s important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a different method. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Website Migration Process Term Paper
I have actually used WP Engine for different projects since 2012. I do not utilize them for my main sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a present client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies discussed. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Process Term Paper
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, however the guideline is that the more intricate your site is, the more intricate the options to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a slow site doesn’t suggest that you require a bigger, 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, but often it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might simply have to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain fast as you grow. There are a lot of options … however either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the precise chokepoint to get your website moving. Website Migration Process Term Paper
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients 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 rapidly the server returned enough data to begin filling the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right from package, and have it stay that method no matter how big or complicated the site 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 given that you are free to focus on speed elements that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, however they likewise supply international data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Website Migration Process Term Paper
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Website Migration Process Term Paper
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very 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 & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard feature of client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never know if the story is because they spoke to 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 company deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 need an investment of cash, time and proficiency.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site by means of chat.
Based on their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has engaged with in fact knew the fine functions of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after a number of concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Website Migration Process Term Paper
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly since their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). However they seem to know that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That indicates 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. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a very large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security basics 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 commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that although security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything 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 finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have assisted customers who have been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a typically pricey situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Website Migration Process Term Paper
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and just up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both of which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k gos to each month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates 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 designer’s) time, their prices is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 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 month-to-month fee right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or designer time fixing concerns.
Generally, if your time is much better assigned far from technical issues, 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 instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Website Migration Process Term Paper
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first customer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that process happen. The phone support is a crucial factor, particularly being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer 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 special backend and plan on introducing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They don’t have any previous habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, numerous of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this review revision. Website Migration Process Term Paper
WP Engine excels not just on current features but also on developing brand-new, innovative hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web development best practices have altered radically since I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to incorporate best practices into implementation & projects with developers.
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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining 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 areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some consumers. I do not use them for this site due to the fact that I do not need much of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Website Migration Process Term Paper
All that stated, here are a few of the larger photo disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be quite complicated– specifically if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the special backend can lead to some designers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website open to the general public or just not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never explain best practice for the general user. Website Migration Process Term Paper
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to view that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (once you get past the knowing curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website checklists to help fix 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 for the most parts, support will just take care of it all.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Website Migration Process Term Paper
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also 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; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban specific plugins & admin behavior for great factors, however those restrictions limit versatility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured enables less flexibility as well. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element extra 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 manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Business. And this point goes even more if your website needs numerous plugins for full functionality.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot truly do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for efficiency & not having to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Website Migration Process Term Paper
Many shared hosting servers can manage the exact 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 fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even consist of a lot of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are looking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, but exactly what is best for you based on your goals, budget, resources & practices.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a strong product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to stress over hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see what you think of their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more freedom/ much better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer support.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Website Migration Process Term Paper