WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Website Migration Tips
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to supply managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Website Migration Tips
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all differ in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as an entire, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is essential to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a different technique. This review will 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 Tips
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different projects since 2012. I do not use them for my main websites today (see conclusion), however I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies pointed out. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or specialist 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 “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Tips
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, however the guideline is that the more intricate your website is, the more complex the options to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally extra plugins, customized style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
However a slow site does not indicate that you require a bigger, much better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but often it’s more about caching specific resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might simply have to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to stay fast as you grow. There are a lot of options … however either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have actually tailored servers with extremely aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and identify the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Website Migration Tips
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough data to start packing the page.
It’s nice to have that kind of speed right out of package, and have it stay that method 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 might get with other services considering that you are free to focus on speed factors that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an incorporated CDN, however they likewise offer global information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Website Migration Tips
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Website Migration Tips
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good 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:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough aspect of consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever know if the story is due to the fact that they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to search for access, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of loan, time and proficiency.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website via chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has interacted with actually understood the great workings of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to expertly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of a number of concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Website Migration Tips
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically because their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the downsides). However they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials are fairly 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 industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something occurs. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped clients who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tedious & an usually expensive situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Website Migration Tips
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and only approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more gos to (ie, basically as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes every month. 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 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 site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or designer time repairing issues.
Basically, if your time is much better allocated away from technical issues, 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 a financial investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Website Migration Tips
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on development & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a crucial factor, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third customer type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on launching a near-complete site at one time.
They don’t have any previous practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Website Migration Tips
WP Engine excels not only on present functions however also on producing brand-new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new designer features that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have actually altered drastically given that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to incorporate best practices into execution & jobs with developers.
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 plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous are valid because they just aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some clients. I don’t use them for this website since I do not need a lot of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Website Migration Tips
All that stated, here are some of the bigger picture drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be rather made complex– especially if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the distinct backend can lead to some developers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website open up to the general public or merely not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they currently do.
Like lots of custom 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 describe finest practice for the general user. Website Migration Tips
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to enjoy that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a substantial offer (once you surpass the learning curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website lists to help troubleshoot 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 in many cases, 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 do not have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Website Migration Tips
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or extremely real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit further to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, but those bans restrict flexibility and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured enables less flexibility as well. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a number of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want 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 permit on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your website requires many plugins for complete performance.
The very 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 utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot actually do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for efficiency & not needing to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based on the features you’re getting, you really don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Website Migration Tips
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out earlier that does not even consist of a lot of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits needs additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the rate. You cannot use them to expand the expense of your strategy,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a costly option, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best total, however what is finest for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to stress over hosting concerns.
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 assurance. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think of their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more liberty/ better prices than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Website Migration Tips