WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting WordPress Optimize Database
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to supply managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. WordPress Optimize Database
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief 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 different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as an entire, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it’s important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a different technique. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. WordPress Optimize Database
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various projects because 2012. I do not use them for my main websites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying customer or specialist to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer service.” 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. WordPress Optimize Database
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complex your site is, the more complicated the services to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of fundamental plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally additional plugins, customized style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site does not mean that you require a larger, much better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might simply need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to stay quickly as you grow. There are a lot of services … but either you or a designer should implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. WordPress Optimize Database
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a customized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs 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 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 measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to start loading the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right from package, and have it remain that method no matter how big or complex the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services given that you are totally free to concentrate on speed factors that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an integrated CDN, however they likewise provide international data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. WordPress Optimize Database
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support WordPress Optimize Database
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a big focus 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 great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult feature of client support is that a lot 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 discuss in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to try to find gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three require a financial investment of cash, time and proficiency.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the site via chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually connected with actually understood the fine functions 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 in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of a number of problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. WordPress Optimize Database
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,specifically since their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). But they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the benefit 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 uncomplicated:
- 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have helped clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & 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 Optimize Database
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which allow for more storage & more gos to (ie, basically as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes each month. 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 sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge 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 could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time fixing problems.
Generally, if your time is better designated far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. WordPress Optimize Database
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit 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 first customer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on advancement & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a much better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process take place. The phone support is a crucial aspect, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a start-up site owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on introducing a near-complete site at one time.
They don’t have any previous practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, numerous of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this review modification. WordPress Optimize Database
WP Engine excels not only on present functions but also on creating brand-new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new developer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have altered drastically given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to integrate best practices into execution & jobs 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 lots of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous are valid due to the fact that they just aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some clients. I do not use them for this site because I do not need much of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. WordPress Optimize Database
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger image disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be rather complicated– particularly if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they also don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can cause some developers making mistakes varying from annoying redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site available to the public or just not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they already do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever describe finest practice for the basic user. WordPress Optimize Database
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to enjoy that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a huge deal (as soon as you get past the learning curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of site lists to help fix 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 that they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply take care of everything.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. WordPress Optimize Database
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really real 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 rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin behavior for good factors, but those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured enables less adaptability as well. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a number of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile 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 an Individual or Company. And this point goes further if your site needs numerous plugins for complete performance.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t actually do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for efficiency & not having to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the features you’re getting, you really don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. WordPress Optimize Database
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr duration 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 gos to, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even consist of many of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to expand the expense of your plan,especially if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are looking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however what is best for you based on your objectives, budget, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use an excellent service with a strong product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to worry about 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 assurance. So do a test install and see what you consider their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more freedom/ better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. WordPress Optimize Database