WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Website Migration Project 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 offer managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Website Migration Project Term Paper
While they have a lot of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has become a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all vary in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of handled 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 offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is necessary to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, usually with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a different method. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Website Migration Project Term Paper
I have actually utilized WP Engine for numerous tasks given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their discount 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 Term Paper
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, but the guideline is that the more intricate your site is, the more intricate the services to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text website with a few fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically additional plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
However a sluggish site doesn’t suggest that you require a larger, better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying 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 huge enough when you might just have to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to stay quickly as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … however either you or a developer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the specific chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Website Migration Project Term Paper
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few 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 kind of speed right from package, and have it stay that method no matter how big or complex the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services because you are totally free to concentrate on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an incorporated CDN, however they also supply global data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Website Migration Project 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 Project Term Paper
Customer support has actually 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 sense for them to place a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has actually grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard aspect of client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever know if the story is since they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 need a financial investment of loan, time and knowledge.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the website via chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has engaged with in fact knew the fine operations of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Website Migration Project Term Paper
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support issues,especially because their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). But they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a huge community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something takes place. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a lot of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have helped clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a typically pricey circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Website Migration Project Term Paper
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. 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, dependable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k visits each month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is remarkable.
Just 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 whole regular monthly charge right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time repairing problems.
Essentially, if your time is better allocated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Website Migration Project Term Paper
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on development & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at needing to deal with technical growth 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 spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a key aspect, especially having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd customer type is a start-up site 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 introducing a near-complete site at one time.
They don’t have any previous routines or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make promises and offer support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this review modification. Website Migration Project Term Paper
WP Engine excels not just on present features however also on creating new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented new developer features that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even general web advancement best practices have actually changed radically considering that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to integrate best practices into execution & jobs with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling 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 fit for some consumers. I do not use them for this website since I do not need a number of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Website Migration Project Term Paper
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger picture disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite complicated– particularly if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the unique backend can cause some developers making mistakes varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website available to the public or merely not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they currently do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the basic user. Website Migration Project Term Paper
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to see that video numerous 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 (when you get past the knowing curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site checklists to assist 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 they do all this. And most of the times, support will just take care of all of it.
But, you still don’t 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 need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Website Migration Project Term Paper
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods terms of minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for excellent reasons, however those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sites, 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 available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured permits less adaptability as well. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a variety of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to factor extra hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want 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 permit on a Personal or Service. And this point goes even more if your site needs many plugins for full performance.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot really do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up having to do a painful migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not having to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the functions you’re getting, you truly don’t get a whole lot.
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 superfluous. Website Migration Project Term Paper
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr duration 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 relatively transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even consist of a lot of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t use them to spread out the expense of your strategy,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a pricey option, especially compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, but exactly what is finest for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a great service with a strong item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to worry about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go check out 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 sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more flexibility/ much better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Website Migration Project Term Paper