WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to offer managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
While they have plenty of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all differ in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is essential to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, typically with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a various approach. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various projects given that 2012. I do not use them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a current customer on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business discussed. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client 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. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, but the general rule is that the more intricate your website is, the more intricate the services to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text website with a few basic plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally additional plugins, customized style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
But a sluggish website does not indicate that you need a bigger, better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply have to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain quick as you grow. There are plenty of options … however either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the exact chokepoint to get your site moving. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up 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 determines how quickly the server returned enough information to begin filling the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or intricate the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that you are totally free to concentrate on speed elements that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, but they likewise offer international data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually 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 tough aspect of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is since they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to try to find access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need an investment of cash, time and competence.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing far better striking all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the website via chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually interacted with in fact knew the fine operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after a number of problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly because their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display 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 Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are fairly simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally 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. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a lot of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a generally pricey situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both of which permit more storage & more sees (ie, basically as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k check outs per month on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is fantastic.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation 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 regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time fixing problems.
Basically, if your time is much better allocated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears 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 process, the first client type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a key aspect, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget plan and desires 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 website all at once.
They do not have any previous habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, numerous of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
WP Engine excels not just on existing functions but likewise on developing new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new developer functions that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have actually changed radically given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know adequate web development to integrate best practices into application & projects 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of stand since 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 great suitable for some customers. I don’t use them for this site because I do not need a number of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
All that said, here are a few of the bigger photo drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be rather made complex– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can lead to some designers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev website available to the public or simply not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they already do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the general user. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to watch that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (when you get past the knowing curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site checklists to assist fix 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 why they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just look after it all.
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 numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or very real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for great factors, however those restrictions restrict flexibility and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured allows for less adaptability as well. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise expensive to pay based on a variety of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to aspect extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Company. And this point goes even more if your site needs many plugins for complete functionality.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot really do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not having to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour duration 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 relatively transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that does not even consist of many of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations 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 tasks or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the cost. You can’t use them to expand the expense of your strategy,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, but exactly what is best for you based upon your objectives, budget, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to stress over hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more freedom/ much better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wp Engine Acquisition January 2018