WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting WordPress Website Migration To New Host
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to offer handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. WordPress Website Migration To New Host
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting market has become a super-confusing location.
I wrote 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 deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the site 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 alternatives, but as an entire, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is very important to understand before 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 fine but I take a various approach. 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 “best fit” for. WordPress Website Migration To New Host
I’ve utilized WP Engine for different projects considering that 2012. I do not use them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current 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 companies discussed. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or specialist to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” Here is their discount pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. WordPress Website Migration To New Host
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, however the general rule is that the more complex your site is, the more complicated the options to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text website with a few fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a slow site does not indicate that you need a larger, better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, but sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of services … but either you or a designer should implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have customized servers with very aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and determine the specific chokepoint to obtain your website moving. WordPress Website Migration To New Host
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough information to begin filling the page.
It’s nice to have that sort 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 elements that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an incorporated CDN, however they also offer global data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. WordPress Website Migration To New Host
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support WordPress Website Migration To New Host
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business 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 stated, the tough thing about 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 spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all three need a financial investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website via chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has communicated with really knew the fine workings of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of several problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. WordPress Website Migration To New Host
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically due to the fact that their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). However they seem 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 implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that although security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something happens. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security issues 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 also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually helped clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tedious & an usually pricey scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. WordPress Website Migration To New Host
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, dependable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both which allow for more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k check outs per month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time fixing problems.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. WordPress Website Migration To New Host
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first customer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on development & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev constructs the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing site owner who is irritated at having to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a key aspect, specifically having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a startup site owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any previous routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and supply support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, so many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this review modification. WordPress Website Migration To New Host
WP Engine excels not just on current functions but also on creating brand-new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new developer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web development finest practices have changed radically since I began observing the market *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web advancement to integrate finest practices into implementation & tasks 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 suitable for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And lots of stand because they just aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some consumers. I don’t use them for this site since I do not require a lot of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. WordPress Website Migration To New Host
All that said, here are some of the larger picture downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be rather made complex– especially if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the special backend can result in some designers making mistakes ranging from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev site available to the public or simply not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they currently do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever discuss finest practice for the general user. WordPress Website Migration To New Host
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to see that video several 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 custom backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (as soon as you get past the learning curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site lists to help troubleshoot 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 that they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply look after it all.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. WordPress Website Migration To New Host
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing complexity.
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 have to be rather uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit more to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban specific plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, however those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured enables less versatility also. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based on a number of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to factor extra hosting expenses 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 manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Business. And this point goes further if your site requires lots of plugins for full functionality.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t actually do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In any 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 spending for performance & not having to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. WordPress Website Migration To New Host
Many 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) handled more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out previously that does not even consist of many 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 limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs additional costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to spread out the cost of your strategy,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are wanting to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, however exactly what is finest for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a solid product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to fret about hosting issues.
If handled 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 install 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/ much better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. WordPress Website Migration To New Host