WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting WordPress Optimize Wp_Options
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 Wp_Options
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has become a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but 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 price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as an entire, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is very important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a different method. This review will 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 Optimize Wp_Options
I’ve utilized WP Engine for different tasks given that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a current customer on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 Optimize Wp_Options
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complex your website is, the more complex the options to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a few fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally additional plugins, customized theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features 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, better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may just need to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to stay quick as you grow. There are plenty of options … but either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and determine the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. WordPress Optimize Wp_Options
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough data to start packing the page.
It’s nice to have that kind of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or complicated the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are totally free to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, but they likewise provide international information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. WordPress Optimize Wp_Options
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support WordPress Optimize Wp_Options
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has grown & changed 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 hard aspect of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never 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 review, the fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to look for access, systems, and understanding, all three need an investment of money, time and proficiency.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting all three boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the site via chat.
Based on their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has interacted with really understood the fine workings of WordPress and has actually 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 customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of numerous concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. WordPress Optimize Wp_Options
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly since their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). However they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are fairly simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial 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. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted customers who have been. It’s discouraging, laborious & an usually pricey scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. WordPress Optimize Wp_Options
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and just approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more visits (ie, generally as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k check outs each month on a shared server. I’ve also 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 thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is fantastic.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) 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 concerns or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time fixing problems.
Generally, if your time is better allocated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. WordPress Optimize Wp_Options
Like I stated 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 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process occur. The phone support is a crucial element, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s special backend and intend on releasing a near-complete site at one time.
They do not have any prior routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this review modification. WordPress Optimize Wp_Options
WP Engine stands out not only on existing functions however also on creating new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even basic web development best practices have actually changed significantly given that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web development to incorporate best practices into execution & 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And many are valid because they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some customers. I do not use them for this site due to the fact that I do not need a lot of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. WordPress Optimize Wp_Options
All that stated, here are some of the bigger picture downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be quite complicated– specifically if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the distinct backend can lead to some designers making mistakes ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site available to the general public or just not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they already do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the general user. WordPress Optimize Wp_Options
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 websites, but I needed to see that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (when you get past the knowing curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site lists to assist fix 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 for the most parts, support will simply look after everything.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. WordPress Optimize Wp_Options
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods terms of reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for great reasons, however those restrictions limit flexibility and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured allows for less versatility too. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also costly to pay based upon a variety of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have 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 site needs many plugins for full performance.
The very same goes 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 really do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up having to do a painful migration to another email company mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for performance & not having to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the features you’re getting, you really do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. WordPress Optimize Wp_Options
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out previously that does not even include much of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. 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 jobs or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the rate. You can’t use them to expand the cost of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best total, but exactly what is best for you based on your objectives, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide an excellent service with a strong product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to stress over hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see exactly what you think about their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more flexibility/ better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer support.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. WordPress Optimize Wp_Options