WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Website That Speeds Up Videos
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to supply managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Website That Speeds Up Videos
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all vary in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features 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 set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the site 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 a whole, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is very important to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, usually with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a different method. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Website That Speeds Up Videos
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various jobs because 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a present client on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business mentioned. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “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 That Speeds Up Videos
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, however the guideline is that the more intricate your website is, the more complex the services to speed become.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally extra plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
However a sluggish website does not suggest that you need a larger, better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to transport a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may just need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to stay quick as you grow. There are plenty of options … however either you or a developer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with very aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the exact chokepoint to get your site moving. Website That Speeds Up Videos
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, extra 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 filling the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right from package, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or complicated the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services since you are totally free to concentrate on speed elements that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an incorporated CDN, however they likewise offer international information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Website That Speeds Up Videos
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Website That Speeds Up Videos
Customer support has actually 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, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of 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 & 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 said, the hard feature of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is due to the fact that they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I prefer to search for access, systems, and understanding, all 3 need a financial investment of cash, time and proficiency.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a range 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 upon their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has communicated with actually knew the fine operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of numerous concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Website That Speeds Up Videos
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically because their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the downsides). However they appear to understand 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 implies 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 large community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security basics 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 industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe 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 don’t lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still eventually 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 everything off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Given that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted clients who have been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a normally pricey situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Website That Speeds Up Videos
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, dependable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which allow for more storage & more check outs (ie, essentially as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k gos to each month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or designer time fixing problems.
Basically, if your time is much better assigned far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Website That Speeds Up Videos
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first client type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing fundamental website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a crucial element, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s special backend and intend on launching a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any prior practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, numerous of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Website That Speeds Up Videos
WP Engine excels not only on present functions but also on developing new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have changed significantly because I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web advancement to incorporate best practices into implementation & tasks with developers.
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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances 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 everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some customers. I don’t use them for this site since I do not need many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Website That Speeds Up Videos
All that said, here are some of the bigger picture disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be quite complicated– especially if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they also don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can result in some designers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website open up to the public or merely not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice customers than they already do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the general user. Website That Speeds Up Videos
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 websites, however I needed to view that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (once you surpass the learning curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website lists to help fix all sorts of issues.
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 in many cases, support will just look after all of it.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Website That Speeds Up Videos
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or extremely genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for great factors, however those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated 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 method their rates is structured permits less flexibility also. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also expensive to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to factor additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Company. And this point goes even more if your site requires many plugins for full functionality.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to use a server for media storage … that utilize 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 a painful migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In any 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 generally paying for performance & not having to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the features you’re getting, you truly do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Website That Speeds Up Videos
Many shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even consist of many of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits requires additional costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the rate. You can’t utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a pricey option, especially compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, but what is best for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a fantastic service with a solid item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to worry about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more freedom/ better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer support.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Website That Speeds Up Videos