WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Website Migration Project Plan
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to offer managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Website Migration Project Plan
While they have plenty of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And 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 install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as an entire, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it’s important to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a various method. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Website Migration Project Plan
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous projects given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a current customer on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 Project Plan
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, however the general rule is that the more complex your website is, the more complicated the options to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text site with a couple of standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally extra plugins, customized theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
However a sluggish website doesn’t indicate that you require a bigger, much better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might simply have to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to remain quick as you grow. There are a lot of services … however either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with very aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Website Migration Project Plan
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have such a customized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to start loading the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right from package, and have it stay that method no matter how big or complex the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that you are free to focus on speed elements that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an integrated CDN, however they likewise offer global data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Website Migration Project Plan
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Website Migration Project Plan
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very 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 said, the difficult thing about client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is since they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to look for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three need a financial investment of cash, time and know-how.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the website through chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually connected with really understood the fine functions of WordPress and has been able 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 just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after several issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Website Migration Project Plan
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially since their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the downsides). But they seem to understand that support is core to their worth 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.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are relatively 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something takes place. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a great deal of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have helped clients who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a normally costly scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Website Migration Project Plan
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your very 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 just a couple dollars per month.
Both of which enable more storage & more gos to (ie, basically as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates each month & 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 regular monthly charge right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge 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 individual or developer time fixing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is much better allocated away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal 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.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Website Migration Project Plan
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the website 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 deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at having to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a crucial factor, specifically having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd client type is a start-up site owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on launching a near-complete site all at once.
They do not have any prior habits or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Website Migration Project Plan
WP Engine excels not just on present features but also on creating new, innovative hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented new developer features that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have altered significantly given that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to incorporate finest practices into implementation & jobs 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 fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous stand since they just aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some clients. I don’t use them for this website because I do not need a number of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Website Migration Project Plan
All that said, here are some of the larger photo disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be quite made complex– especially if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. 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 functions exist, the special backend can lead to some designers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open up to the general public or simply not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they currently do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the general user. Website Migration Project Plan
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to see that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a huge offer (once you surpass the knowing curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site checklists to help fix 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.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply look after all of it.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Website Migration Project Plan
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, however those bans limit versatility and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured allows for less adaptability too. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also pricey to pay based upon a number of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element extra hosting bills 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 further if your website requires many plugins for full performance.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t actually do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another email company mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for efficiency & not needing to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you truly don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Website Migration Project Plan
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even consist of 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 regional storage. Anything above the limits requires extra expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the rate. You can’t use them to spread out the cost of your strategy,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, especially compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest total, but exactly what is finest for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a great service with a strong item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to stress over hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see what you think of their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more flexibility/ much better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Website Migration Project Plan