WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting WordPress Optimize Images Pagespeed
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to provide handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. WordPress Optimize Images Pagespeed
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has become a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all differ in services provided. Some simply 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 really buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as a whole, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is very important to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a different approach. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. WordPress Optimize Images Pagespeed
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various jobs given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present client on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer 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 Images Pagespeed
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complex your website is, the more intricate the options to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with an affordable shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally extra plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish site doesn’t mean that you need a larger, better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might just have to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain fast as you grow. There are a lot of options … but either you or a designer should implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and identify the exact chokepoint to obtain your website moving. WordPress Optimize Images Pagespeed
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform since 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, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin packing the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right from the box, and have it remain that way no matter how big or complicated the site 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 might get with other services given that you are free to focus on speed aspects that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an incorporated CDN, however they likewise supply worldwide data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. WordPress Optimize Images Pagespeed
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support WordPress Optimize Images Pagespeed
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has grown & changed 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 tough feature of consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but 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 point out in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to try to find gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three require a financial investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has communicated with in fact knew the great functions of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. WordPress Optimize Images Pagespeed
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly because their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). But they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a very large community launching updates & testing 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 industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that despite the fact that security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site 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 & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a great deal of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security companies 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 totally free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually helped clients who have been. It’s frustrating, tedious & an usually expensive situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. WordPress Optimize Images Pagespeed
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very 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 just a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which enable more storage & more gos to (ie, basically as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k visits per month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup 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 charge right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time fixing concerns.
Generally, if your time is better allocated far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. 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 pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. WordPress Optimize Images Pagespeed
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds 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 very first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website 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 basic site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that process occur. The phone support is a crucial aspect, specifically having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third consumer 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 special backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website at one time.
They don’t have any previous habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and supply support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. WordPress Optimize Images Pagespeed
WP Engine excels not just on present features but also on producing new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new developer features that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have altered radically considering that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web advancement to incorporate finest practices into application & jobs with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many are valid 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 a great suitable for some clients. I do not 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. WordPress Optimize Images Pagespeed
All that stated, here are some of the larger photo disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be quite made complex– specifically if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can result in some designers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open up to the public or merely not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they currently do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain finest practice for the basic user. WordPress Optimize Images Pagespeed
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to see that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a huge deal (when you surpass the knowing curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of site lists to help repair all sorts of concerns.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons that they do all this. And in many cases, support will just look after everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. WordPress Optimize Images Pagespeed
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is also 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 somewhat consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or very real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for good factors, but those restrictions limit adaptability and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized sites, it does the job 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 rates is structured permits less flexibility as well. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s also costly to pay based on a number of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to aspect extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Business. And this point goes further if your website requires lots of plugins for full functionality.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are planning to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot truly do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up having to do a painful migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for efficiency & not needing to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually visiting regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. WordPress Optimize Images Pagespeed
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” site owners how quickly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even consist of much of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to expand the cost of your plan,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are wanting to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a costly option, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, however what is best for you based upon your objectives, budget, resources & routines.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide an excellent service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to stress over hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more liberty/ much better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. WordPress Optimize Images Pagespeed