WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Website Migration Software
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to offer handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Website Migration Software
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all vary in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + performance.
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 tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is necessary to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a different approach. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Website Migration Software
I have actually utilized WP Engine for numerous jobs since 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” 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 Software
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, but the general rule is that the more complex your site is, the more complicated the solutions to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with an economical shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually extra plugins, custom theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
But a slow site doesn’t suggest that you require a larger, better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may simply need to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to stay quick as you grow. There are a lot of options … but either you or a developer should implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually personalized servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and determine the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Website Migration Software
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, 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 information to begin loading the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that method no matter how big or complex the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services because you are free to focus on speed aspects that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an integrated CDN, but they likewise supply worldwide information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Website Migration Software
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Website Migration Software
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has actually grown & altered 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 tough feature of customer 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 spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I prefer to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need an investment of cash, time and know-how.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has communicated with in fact knew the fine functions of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to expertly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after several issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Website Migration Software
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly because their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the downsides). However they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, 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 utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that although security on WordPress is simple, the duty 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 ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have assisted customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & a typically pricey situation (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 Software
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and only approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, basically as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing downside 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 pricing is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 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 cost right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost 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 might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time repairing issues.
Essentially, if your time is better assigned away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Website Migration Software
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is an essential factor, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup 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 special backend and intend on launching a near-complete website at one time.
They don’t have any prior routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this review revision. Website Migration Software
WP Engine excels not only on present functions however likewise on developing new, innovative hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented new designer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even general web development best practices have actually changed drastically considering that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know adequate web development to integrate finest practices into execution & 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many are valid due to the fact that they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some customers. I don’t use them for this website due to the fact that I do not need much of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Website Migration Software
All that said, here are a few of the larger picture drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be quite complicated– particularly if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can result in some designers making mistakes varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website available to the public or just not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they already do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the general user. Website Migration Software
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to watch that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to discover 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 website lists to help 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.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And most of the times, support will just look after all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Website Migration Software
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & 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 consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for great factors, but those bans limit flexibility and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured enables less flexibility too. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise expensive to pay based upon a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to aspect extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Business. And this point goes further if your website needs numerous plugins for full performance.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you cannot really do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for performance & not having to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Website Migration Software
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even include a lot of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to spread out the expense of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a pricey option, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, however exactly what is finest for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a strong item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to fret about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see exactly what you think about their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more liberty/ much better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Website Migration Software