WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Website Migration Seo Checklist
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to supply handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Website Migration Seo Checklist
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed 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 growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all vary in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate 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 provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as a whole, 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 confusing, yes, however it’s important to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a various approach. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Website Migration Seo Checklist
I have actually used WP Engine for different projects given that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a present client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
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 client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 Seo Checklist
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complex your website is, the more complicated the solutions to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text website with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically additional plugins, customized style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish site doesn’t indicate that you require a larger, better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may just need to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to stay fast as you grow. There are lots of options … however either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have personalized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and recognize the exact chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Website Migration Seo Checklist
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional 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 information to start loading the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right out of package, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or complicated 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 since you are free to focus on speed factors that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an incorporated CDN, however they also offer international information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Website Migration Seo Checklist
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Website Migration Seo Checklist
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among 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 actually grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult thing about client 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 talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three need an investment of cash, time and competence.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site by means of chat.
Based on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has communicated with in fact knew the fine operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after a number of concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Website Migration Seo Checklist
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly due to the fact that their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). However they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a huge neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security basics 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 utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something takes place. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a lot of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have assisted customers who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tedious & an usually costly scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Website Migration Seo Checklist
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and only as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, dependable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both which allow for more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & 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 whole monthly cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or developer time fixing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is better assigned away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Website Migration Seo Checklist
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first customer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing website owner who is irritated at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget 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 element, especially having the ability to “just 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-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on releasing a near-complete site all at once.
They do not have any previous practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make promises and offer support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, a lot of 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 Seo Checklist
WP Engine stands out not only on current features however likewise on developing new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually altered drastically because I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand adequate web development to incorporate finest 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 suitable for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And many stand because they simply aren’t a suitable for everyone. 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 site due to the fact that I do not require much of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Website Migration Seo Checklist
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger photo downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be rather made complex– especially if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the special backend can result in some designers making errors varying from annoying redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website open up to the public or simply not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they already do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the general user. Website Migration Seo Checklist
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to view that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website checklists to assist repair all sorts of concerns.
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 for the most parts, support will simply take care of all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. 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, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Website Migration Seo Checklist
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or extremely real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit more to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for good factors, however those restrictions limit versatility and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured enables less flexibility too. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also pricey to pay based upon a number of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to aspect extra hosting expenses 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 handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes further if your site requires numerous plugins for complete performance.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you can’t actually do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up needing to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for efficiency & not needing to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the features you’re getting, you truly 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 typically logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Website Migration Seo Checklist
Many shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr duration 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 relatively transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out previously that does not even include a number of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to spread out the cost of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are looking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, but exactly what is best for you based upon your goals, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a fantastic service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to worry about hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at 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. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more flexibility/ better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer support.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Website Migration Seo Checklist