WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Website Server Migration
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to offer handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Website Server Migration
While they have plenty of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all differ in services supplied. Some just 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 managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as an entire, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is very important to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a various method. 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 “best fit” for. Website Server Migration
I’ve utilized WP Engine for different jobs since 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, powerful 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 Server Migration
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complex your site is, the more intricate the services to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a few basic plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with an economical shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually additional plugins, customized style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
However a sluggish site does not indicate that you require a larger, better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might just have to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to stay fast as you grow. There are lots of solutions … but either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with very aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and recognize the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Website Server Migration
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough data to begin filling the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right out of package, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or complicated the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that 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 supplies an integrated CDN, but they also offer global information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Website Server Migration
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Website Server Migration
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a huge emphasis 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 grown & changed a lot since then. 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. Everybody has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is since they talked 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 prefer to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require an investment of money, time and expertise.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the site via chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has interacted with actually understood the great operations of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to expertly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after a number of issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Website Server Migration
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). But 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 Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals are fairly simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something takes place. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security firms on code reviews 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 never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have assisted customers who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tedious & a normally costly circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Website Server Migration
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, dependable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which enable more storage & more check outs (ie, essentially as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time fixing issues.
Essentially, if your time is much better allocated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal 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 pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Website Server Migration
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the 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 spending plan. The designer/dev builds the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a crucial factor, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a startup site owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any previous routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this review revision. Website Server Migration
WP Engine stands out not just on existing features however also on creating new, innovative hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out new developer features that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have changed significantly given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web development to incorporate finest practices into execution & tasks 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 very best fit for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of are valid since they just aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this site since I do not require many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Website Server Migration
All that said, here are some of the bigger photo downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be rather complicated– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can result in some developers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website available to the public or just not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they currently do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never discuss best practice for the general user. Website Server Migration
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to view that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (when you get past the learning curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website lists 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 in most cases, support will just take care of all of it.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Website Server Migration
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for great factors, however those restrictions restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured permits less adaptability also. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise expensive to pay based on a variety of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to factor extra hosting bills 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 enable on a Personal or Business. And this point goes even more if your site requires lots of plugins for full functionality.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you can’t really do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for efficiency & not having to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Website Server Migration
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how quickly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that doesn’t even consist of many of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs 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 projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the rate. You cannot use them to expand the cost of your strategy,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are wanting to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, especially compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, however what is best for you based on your objectives, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a terrific service with a strong product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to fret about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see what you think of their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more freedom/ much better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Website Server Migration