WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting WordPress Optimize Above The Fold
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to supply managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. WordPress Optimize Above The Fold
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all vary in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal 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 truly purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as a whole, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it’s important to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, usually with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a different approach. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. WordPress Optimize Above The Fold
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various jobs considering that 2012. I don’t use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a present customer on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class client service.” 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. WordPress Optimize Above The Fold
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your website is, the more intricate the solutions to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally additional plugins, customized style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a slow website does not imply that you need a bigger, much better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might just have to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain quickly as you grow. There are lots of solutions … however either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have tailored servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. WordPress Optimize Above The Fold
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, 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 information to begin filling the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right out of package, and have it remain that way no matter how big or intricate the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services given that you are totally free to concentrate on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, but they also provide international information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. WordPress Optimize Above The Fold
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support WordPress Optimize Above The Fold
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position 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 business has actually grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot 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, but you never ever know if the story is because they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to search for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require an investment of money, time and know-how.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually communicated with really knew the fine workings of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly help us “flip the switch” quickly 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 Optimize Above The Fold
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly since their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals 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 use 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 obligation 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 safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something happens. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a great deal of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually helped clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a typically costly situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. WordPress Optimize Above The Fold
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both of which enable more storage & more sees (ie, generally as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k visits each month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but 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 fantastic.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes on a monthly basis. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee 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 might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or developer time fixing concerns.
Generally, if your time is much better designated away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. WordPress Optimize Above The Fold
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first customer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, 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 an ongoing standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at having 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 spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process occur. The phone support is a key element, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer 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 discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on releasing a near-complete site at one time.
They don’t have any prior habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this review revision. WordPress Optimize Above The Fold
WP Engine stands out not just on present functions however also on developing new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented new developer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web development best practices have actually altered drastically since I started observing the market *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to incorporate finest practices into application & projects 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And numerous stand due to the fact that they merely aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not require much of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. WordPress Optimize Above The Fold
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger picture disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be rather made complex– specifically if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they also do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can cause some designers making errors varying from annoying redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website available to the general public or just not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice consumers than they already do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss best practice for the basic user. WordPress Optimize Above The Fold
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to watch that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a substantial deal (once you get past the knowing curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of website checklists 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 that they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply take care of it all.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. WordPress Optimize Above The Fold
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or extremely genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin behavior for great factors, however those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common 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 not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured permits less flexibility also. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also expensive to pay based on a variety of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor additional 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 handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes further if your website requires lots of plugins for complete functionality.
The same opts 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.
Furthermore, you can’t really do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up having to do an agonizing migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for performance & not needing to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. WordPress Optimize Above The Fold
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 (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable 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 “little” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out previously that does not even include a lot of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits requires extra costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your strategy,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a costly choice, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, but exactly what is best for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a terrific service with a strong product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to stress over hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see exactly what you consider their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more liberty/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer support.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. WordPress Optimize Above The Fold