WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Website Speed Up
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to supply handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Website Speed Up
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all differ in services provided. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer 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 uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is very important to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, normally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a different technique. 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 “finest fit” for. Website Speed Up
I’ve utilized WP Engine for numerous jobs considering that 2012. I do not utilize them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, effective 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 Speed Up
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your website is, the more intricate the options to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text site with a couple of basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with an economical shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a slow site does not suggest that you require a larger, much better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might simply have to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to remain quick as you grow. There are a lot of options … however either you or a developer should implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually tailored servers with extremely aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Website Speed Up
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated 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 determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to begin packing the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right from package, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or intricate the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are free to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, however they likewise offer international data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Website Speed Up
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Website Speed Up
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place 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 company has grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard aspect of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however 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 discuss in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I like to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all three require an investment of loan, time and proficiency.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually engaged with really knew the great operations of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after several concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Website Speed Up
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially because their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). However they seem to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security essentials are relatively straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, 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 finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something takes place. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a great deal of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have assisted clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a generally costly situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Website Speed Up
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and only as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as many 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’ve also run lots of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation 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 entire monthly cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or designer time repairing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Website Speed Up
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on development & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing site owner who is irritated at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that process take place. The phone support is an essential factor, particularly being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s special backend and plan on launching a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any prior practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make promises and offer support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, so many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of 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 really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Website Speed Up
WP Engine excels not just on existing features however also on producing brand-new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new developer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even general web development best practices have actually altered significantly since I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to incorporate finest practices into implementation & projects 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And many stand since they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great 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 Speed Up
All that said, here are a few of the larger photo drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be quite made complex– particularly if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the unique backend can result in some developers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open up to the general public or simply not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice customers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the general user. Website Speed Up
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to view that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a big offer (when you surpass the knowing curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of website checklists 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.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of everything.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Website Speed Up
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin habits for good factors, however those bans restrict flexibility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured permits less adaptability as well. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however 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 wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, 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 site on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Business. And this point goes further if your site needs numerous plugins for complete functionality.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you can’t truly do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up needing to do an agonizing 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 on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for efficiency & not needing to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Website Speed Up
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out previously that does not even consist of a lot of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your strategy,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are seeking 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 exactly what is finest overall, but what is finest for you based on your objectives, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use an excellent service with a solid item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to stress over hosting issues.
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 consider their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more freedom/ much better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Website Speed Up