WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting WordPress Auto Optimize
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first business to supply managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. WordPress Auto Optimize
While they have lots of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all vary in services provided. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as an entire, they all compete with 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 understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, usually with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a different method. This evaluation 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. WordPress Auto Optimize
I have actually utilized WP Engine for numerous jobs because 2012. I do not use them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their promo pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. WordPress Auto Optimize
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, but the guideline is that the more complicated your site is, the more complex the options to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text website with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with an affordable shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically extra plugins, customized style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
However a slow website does not mean that you need a larger, better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, however in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may just have to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain fast as you grow. There are lots of options … however either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually personalized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and identify the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. WordPress Auto Optimize
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough data to begin loading the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right from the box, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or complex the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that you are complimentary to focus 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 integrated CDN, but they also offer worldwide information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. WordPress Auto Optimize
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support WordPress Auto Optimize
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled 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 first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough aspect of client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is because they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I prefer to look for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three require an investment of money, time and know-how.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually interacted with actually knew the great functions of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (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 obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to expertly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. WordPress Auto Optimize
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly since their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the downsides). However they appear to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required 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 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 & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, 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 business arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, 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 occurs. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have assisted customers who have been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a normally expensive scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. WordPress Auto Optimize
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same rate 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 which allow for more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k gos to per month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time repairing concerns.
Basically, if your time is much better designated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. WordPress Auto Optimize
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first customer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on development & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that process take place. The phone support is a key factor, especially having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on launching a near-complete website all at once.
They do not have any previous habits or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. WordPress Auto Optimize
WP Engine excels not only on existing features however likewise on developing brand-new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even general web advancement best practices have changed radically because I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web development to integrate finest practices into execution & jobs with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And many are valid due to the fact that they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some clients. I do not use them for this site due to the fact that I do not need a lot of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. WordPress Auto Optimize
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 guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be quite complicated– specifically if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the special backend can cause some designers making mistakes ranging from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open to the general public or just not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they already do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain best practice for the basic user. WordPress Auto Optimize
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to enjoy that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (when you get past the learning curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site lists to assist troubleshoot all sorts of problems.
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 most cases, support will simply look after it all.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. WordPress Auto Optimize
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is also associated with 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; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or extremely genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit more to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban certain plugins & admin behavior for excellent factors, however those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured permits less flexibility as well. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise expensive to pay based on a number of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Company. And this point goes even more if your website requires many plugins for complete performance.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot truly do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not having to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you truly do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. WordPress Auto Optimize
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even include a lot of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a costly option, especially compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, however what is best for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a fantastic service with a solid item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to stress over hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see exactly what you consider their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more freedom/ better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive 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 a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. WordPress Auto Optimize