WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Website Migration Resume
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to offer handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Website Migration Resume
While they have plenty of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all differ in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is necessary to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a various method. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Website Migration Resume
I’ve used WP Engine for various tasks considering that 2012. I do not use them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present client on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class client 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 Resume
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your site is, the more complex the options to speed become.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of basic plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally extra plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a slow website doesn’t indicate that you need a larger, better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might simply need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to stay quick as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … however either you or a developer should implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the exact chokepoint to get your website moving. Website Migration Resume
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up 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 puffed up theme, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin loading the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right out of package, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complex the website gets.
*Note 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 may get with other services because you are totally free to concentrate on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an integrated CDN, but they likewise provide worldwide information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Website Migration Resume
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Website Migration Resume
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because 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 big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among 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 grown & altered 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 tough feature of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never know if the story is due to the fact that they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to search for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need a financial investment of loan, time and expertise.
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 strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere 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 client has interacted with in fact understood the great workings of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of several issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Website Migration Resume
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically because their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). However they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security essentials are relatively 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 utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a lot of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually helped customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & an usually pricey circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Website Migration Resume
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and just up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both which allow for more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k visits per month on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is much better designated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Website Migration Resume
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first customer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous fundamental website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that process take place. The phone support is a crucial factor, especially being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any previous practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, so many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Website Migration Resume
WP Engine stands out not only on current functions however likewise on producing new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new designer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have actually altered radically since I began observing the market *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web advancement to integrate best practices into application & projects 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And many stand since they just aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not need a lot of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Website Migration Resume
All that stated, here are some of the larger photo disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be quite made complex– particularly if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can result in some developers making mistakes ranging from irritating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open to the general public or merely not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice customers than they currently do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever explain best practice for the basic user. Website Migration Resume
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to watch that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a huge deal (once you get past the learning curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of site 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 they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply look after everything.
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 don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Website Migration Resume
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to decreasing & increasing complexity.
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 need to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really genuine physical limits), but 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 prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin habits for great factors, however those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured enables less adaptability too. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also expensive to pay based upon a variety of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to factor additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your site needs many plugins for complete performance.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you can’t truly do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for performance & not having to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the features you’re getting, you truly do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Website Migration Resume
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the exact 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 check outs in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable 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 rather a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned previously that doesn’t even include a number of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, but exactly what is best for you based upon your goals, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a great service with a solid product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to worry about hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more flexibility/ better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Website Migration Resume