WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting WordPress Optimize Wp_Query
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to supply managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. WordPress Optimize Wp_Query
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many ways -and they have broad name recognition and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has become a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all vary in services provided. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as an entire, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is necessary to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated reviews based upon 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 webhosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. WordPress Optimize Wp_Query
I have actually utilized WP Engine for numerous tasks given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning 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_Query
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your site is, the more intricate the services to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text website with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with an economical shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally extra plugins, customized theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
But a sluggish site doesn’t mean that you require a bigger, much better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, however sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may just need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to stay quickly as you grow. There are a lot of services … but either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. WordPress Optimize Wp_Query
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs because they have actually 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 additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other 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 filling the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right out of package, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complex the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that you are free to concentrate on speed factors that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an integrated CDN, however they likewise provide global information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. WordPress Optimize Wp_Query
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_Query
Customer 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 good sense for them to place a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard thing about consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is due to the fact that they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to look for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three require a financial investment of money, time and competence.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the site by means of chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually connected with in fact understood the great operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. WordPress Optimize Wp_Query
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially since their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). But they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are fairly straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something happens. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a great deal of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the guarantee 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), however have assisted clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, laborious & a typically costly situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. WordPress Optimize Wp_Query
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, basically as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k visits each month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing 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 entire month-to-month fee right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or developer time fixing problems.
Basically, if your time is much better designated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. WordPress Optimize Wp_Query
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first client type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process take place. The phone support is a crucial element, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a startup site owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s special backend and intend on releasing a near-complete site all at once.
They don’t have any previous routines 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 guarantees and provide support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, so many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. WordPress Optimize Wp_Query
WP Engine stands out not only on present functions but likewise on developing brand-new, innovative hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented new developer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have changed drastically considering that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to integrate finest practices into application & jobs with designers.
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 very best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous are valid since they just aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some clients. I don’t utilize them for this site since I do not require many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. WordPress Optimize Wp_Query
All that said, here are some of the bigger photo downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be quite complicated– especially if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can cause some designers making errors ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website available to the public or merely not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice customers than they currently do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never discuss best practice for the general user. WordPress Optimize Wp_Query
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to enjoy that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a substantial offer (when you get past the knowing curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of website 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.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply look after everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not 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 anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. WordPress Optimize Wp_Query
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin habits for great reasons, but those bans limit flexibility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized sites, it does the job 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 pricing is structured permits less flexibility too. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also costly to pay based on a number of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Business. And this point goes even more if your website requires lots of plugins for full functionality.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you cannot really do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up needing to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for efficiency & not needing to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you truly do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. WordPress Optimize Wp_Query
Many shared hosting servers can manage the exact 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) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned previously that doesn’t even include a lot of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited 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 spread out the expense of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however exactly what is finest for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide an excellent service with a solid item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to fret about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think about their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more liberty/ better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer support.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. WordPress Optimize Wp_Query