WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting WordPress Optimizer Plugin
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to offer handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. WordPress Optimizer Plugin
While they have a lot of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has become a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all vary in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer 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 purchasing hosting per se, however 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 content + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as a whole, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is necessary to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a various 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 Optimizer Plugin
I have actually used WP Engine for various jobs because 2012. I do not use them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a current customer on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies pointed out. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, effective 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 Optimizer Plugin
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, however the general rule is that the more intricate your website is, the more complex the solutions to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text site with a few standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally extra plugins, custom-made theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish website doesn’t mean that you need a larger, much better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may just have to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to remain quick as you grow. There are lots of options … however either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and recognize the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. WordPress Optimizer Plugin
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to start loading the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or complex the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services because you are free to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an integrated CDN, however they likewise offer worldwide data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. WordPress Optimizer Plugin
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support WordPress Optimizer Plugin
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (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 company has actually grown & changed 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 feature of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never understand if the story is because 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 treats support as an investment or an expense.
I want to try to find access, systems, and understanding, all three need a financial investment of cash, time and knowledge.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the website through chat.
Based on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually connected with really understood the great workings of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to expertly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. WordPress Optimizer Plugin
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly since their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). However they appear to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a huge neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security essentials are relatively straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a great deal of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have helped customers who have been. It’s frustrating, tedious & an usually expensive circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. WordPress Optimizer Plugin
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both of which enable more storage & more visits (ie, basically as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k gos to each month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing drawback 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 & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes on a monthly basis. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or developer time repairing problems.
Basically, if your time is much better assigned away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. WordPress Optimizer Plugin
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first customer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on development & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is a crucial factor, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a start-up website owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s special backend and plan on releasing a near-complete site all at once.
They don’t have any previous practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation revision. WordPress Optimizer Plugin
WP Engine stands out not only on current functions however likewise on producing new, advanced hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new developer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement best practices have actually changed radically since I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to incorporate 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And numerous are valid since they merely aren’t a suitable 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 website since I do not need many of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. WordPress Optimizer Plugin
All that stated, here are a few of the larger image disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be rather made complex– especially if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can result in some developers making mistakes ranging from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website available to the general public or simply not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they already do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the basic user. WordPress Optimizer Plugin
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to enjoy that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (when you get past the learning curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover 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 plethora of site checklists to assist troubleshoot 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 they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just take care of all of it.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. WordPress Optimizer Plugin
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly 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 ban certain plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, but those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated 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 bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured allows for less adaptability also. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also pricey to pay based upon a variety of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element extra hosting bills 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 allow on a Personal or Service. And this point goes even more if your website needs numerous plugins for complete functionality.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot truly do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for performance & not needing to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you truly do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. WordPress Optimizer Plugin
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental 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 reputable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out earlier that doesn’t even consist of many 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 limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits needs extra costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to spread out the cost of your strategy,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are wanting to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best total, but exactly what is best for you based upon your objectives, budget, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a strong product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to fret about hosting issues.
If handled 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 chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more liberty/ much better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. WordPress Optimizer Plugin