WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Alternatives
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to provide managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wp Engine Alternatives
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services provided. Some simply 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 managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as a whole, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is necessary to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a various technique. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engine Alternatives
I have actually used WP Engine for various tasks considering that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” 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. Wp Engine Alternatives
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, but the general rule is that the more intricate your site is, the more intricate the solutions to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a few standard plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally additional plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
But a slow website does not suggest that you require a bigger, better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of options … however either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually personalized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the exact chokepoint to get your site moving. Wp Engine Alternatives
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin filling the page.
It’s good 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 obsessed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are complimentary to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, however they likewise provide worldwide information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Alternatives
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Alternatives
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a huge 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 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 tough aspect of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is due to the fact that they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to try to find gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of cash, time and competence.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has connected with really understood the fine functions of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of numerous concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Alternatives
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially because their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the downsides). However they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security basics 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 industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something happens. Given that you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted customers who have been. It’s frustrating, tedious & an usually expensive circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Alternatives
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your installation 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 regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any sees 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 don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time fixing problems.
Basically, if your time is much better assigned away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Alternatives
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is an essential element, specifically being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third consumer type is a startup site owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s special backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any previous routines or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, many of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wp Engine Alternatives
WP Engine stands out not only on current features however likewise on producing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have changed drastically because I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web advancement to integrate finest practices into application & tasks with designers.
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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And lots of stand since they just aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some clients. I do not utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not need a number of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Alternatives
All that said, here are some of the larger photo drawbacks 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 quite complicated– specifically if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they also don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can cause some developers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open up to the public or just not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more novice clients than they already do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the general user. Wp Engine Alternatives
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to enjoy that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a substantial offer (once you get past the knowing curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of site lists to help repair all sorts of problems.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply look after it all.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Alternatives
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to reducing & 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 rather uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or very genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit more to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, however those restrictions limit versatility and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured allows for less flexibility too. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise expensive to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element additional 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 enable on a Personal or Company. And this point goes further if your site requires lots of plugins for full functionality.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot truly do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up needing to do a painful migration to another email company mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for efficiency & not needing to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Alternatives
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even include much of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits needs extra costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You can’t utilize them to spread out the cost of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, however exactly what is finest for you based upon your goals, budget, resources & routines.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a fantastic service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to worry about hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. 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 current host & desire more freedom/ much better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wp Engine Alternatives