WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting WordPress Optimizer Theme Tutorial
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first business to provide handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. WordPress Optimizer Theme Tutorial
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services provided. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as a whole, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is necessary to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a different method. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. WordPress Optimizer Theme Tutorial
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous projects because 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), but 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 business mentioned. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Optimizer Theme Tutorial
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, however the general rule is that the more intricate your site is, the more complex the services to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text site with a few basic plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site does not imply that you need a bigger, better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might just need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to remain quickly as you grow. There are lots of options … but either you or a developer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and recognize the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. WordPress Optimizer Theme Tutorial
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a tailored caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, 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 information to begin packing the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right from the box, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complex the website 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 since you are free to concentrate on speed factors that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an incorporated CDN, but they likewise provide worldwide data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. WordPress Optimizer Theme Tutorial
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support WordPress Optimizer Theme Tutorial
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a huge emphasis 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 since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult aspect of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is since they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to try to find access, systems, and knowledge, all three require a financial investment of loan, time and expertise.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all three boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site by means of chat.
Based on their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually communicated with in fact knew the great operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after several concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. WordPress Optimizer Theme Tutorial
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,specifically due to the fact that their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). But they seem to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security basics 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing 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 & ready to roll back if something happens. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a lot of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, laborious & an usually pricey situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. WordPress Optimizer Theme Tutorial
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and only as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both which allow for more storage & more visits (ie, basically as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or developer time repairing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. WordPress Optimizer Theme Tutorial
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that process occur. The phone support is a crucial factor, especially having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd client type is a startup site owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on launching a near-complete site simultaneously.
They do not have any prior practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. WordPress Optimizer Theme Tutorial
WP Engine stands out not just on present features but also on developing new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually altered drastically because I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to incorporate best practices into application & jobs with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And numerous stand because they merely aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some consumers. I do not use them for this website since I do not need many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. WordPress Optimizer Theme Tutorial
All that said, here are a few of the larger image disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be quite made complex– especially if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the special backend can lead to some developers making mistakes varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open to the general public or merely not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they already do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the basic user. WordPress Optimizer Theme Tutorial
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to view that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a huge deal (once you surpass the knowing curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website lists to assist 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 most of the times, support will simply take care of it all.
However, you still do not 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 managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. WordPress Optimizer Theme Tutorial
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also connected 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 somewhat uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or extremely genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for excellent reasons, but those restrictions limit versatility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured enables less flexibility as well. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also expensive to pay based upon a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to aspect additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish 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 Company. And this point goes even more if your site requires many plugins for full functionality.
The very same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot actually do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for performance & not needing to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the functions you’re getting, you truly do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. WordPress Optimizer Theme Tutorial
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour 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 quite a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even include many of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits requires extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the rate. You can’t use them to spread out the expense of your strategy,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, especially compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, however what is best for you based upon your objectives, budget, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide an excellent service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to worry about hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go check out 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 current host & desire more freedom/ much better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. WordPress Optimizer Theme Tutorial