WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Customers
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name recognition and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all vary in services provided. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every rival 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 traditional 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’s important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, usually with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a different technique. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Customers
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various tasks because 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), however I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or specialist to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Customers
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, however the guideline is that the more complex your site is, the more complicated the options to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text site with a few fundamental plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site does not imply that you need a bigger, better server. It does indicate 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. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may just need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain quick as you grow. There are lots of services … however either you or a developer must execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually tailored servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the specific chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Wp Engine Customers
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to start packing the page.
It’s nice to have that kind of speed right out of package, and have it remain that way no matter how big or complicated the website 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 factors that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an integrated CDN, but they likewise supply global information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Customers
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Customers
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal 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, however you never ever know if the story is since they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to look for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 need an investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing better striking all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the website via chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has communicated with actually knew the great workings of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of numerous concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Customers
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly because their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). However they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a very large community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security essentials 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 utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though 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 ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something happens. Given that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted clients who have actually been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a typically expensive situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Customers
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which enable more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k check outs per month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty 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 sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly 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 could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or developer time repairing concerns.
Basically, if your time is better designated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Customers
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to handle 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 for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that process happen. The phone support is a key aspect, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd customer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on releasing a near-complete website all at once.
They do not have any prior habits or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engine Customers
WP Engine stands out not just on existing functions but also on developing new, innovative hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new designer functions that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have actually changed drastically given that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web advancement to integrate finest 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And many are valid because they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some consumers. I do not utilize them for this site due to the fact that I do not need much of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Customers
All that stated, here are a few of the larger image drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be rather made complex– especially if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the special backend can lead to some developers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev site available to the general public or merely not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they currently do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Customers
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to enjoy that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (when you surpass the learning curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of site checklists to assist 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.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply take care of all of it.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Customers
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods terms of lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or really genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for good factors, however those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured allows for less versatility as well. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send, but it’s also pricey to pay based on a number of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to element 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 manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Company. And this point goes even more if your site requires numerous plugins for full performance.
The same goes 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.
In addition, you cannot actually do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for efficiency & not needing to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you truly do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally logging in often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Wp Engine Customers
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out earlier that does not even include a number of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits requires extra expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your plan,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are planning to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best total, however what is finest for you based on your goals, budget, resources & routines.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a fantastic service with a strong item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to worry about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see what you consider their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more flexibility/ better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer support.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wp Engine Customers