WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Development Environment
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to offer managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Development Environment
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as a whole, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is necessary to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, normally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a different technique. 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 Development Environment
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various tasks because 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” Here is their promo pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wp Engine Development Environment
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complex your site is, the more complicated the services to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a few basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually additional plugins, customized theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
But a slow website doesn’t suggest that you require a larger, better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, however often it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big 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 requires aid to remain fast as you grow. There are lots of options … however either you or a designer must execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have customized servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and recognize the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Wp Engine Development Environment
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform due to the fact that 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, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough information to begin loading the page.
It’s nice to have that kind of speed right from package, and have it stay 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 back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are free to focus on speed factors that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an incorporated CDN, however they likewise supply worldwide data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Development Environment
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Development Environment
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a big 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 & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult thing about consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never understand if the story is because they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site via chat.
Based on their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually interacted with in fact understood the fine operations of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Development Environment
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,especially since their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the downsides). But they seem to know that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But 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 large neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security basics are fairly 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 industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally 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. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted clients who have been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a generally expensive scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Development Environment
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both which allow for more storage & more visits (ie, generally as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is fantastic.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire 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 site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or designer time fixing problems.
Basically, if your time is better allocated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. 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 pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Development Environment
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing standard website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at having to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that process take place. The phone support is an essential aspect, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website all at once.
They do not have any previous routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these kinds of clients, 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, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engine Development Environment
WP Engine stands out not just on present functions but likewise on developing new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web development best practices have actually altered radically considering that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to incorporate finest practices into implementation & jobs 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 very best fit for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And lots of stand because they just aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some clients. I don’t use them for this website because I do not need much of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Development Environment
All that stated, here are some of the bigger photo downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be rather made complex– specifically if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can lead to some designers making mistakes varying from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev site open to the public or simply not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they currently do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the general user. Wp Engine Development Environment
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to view that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a huge deal (once you surpass the knowing curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never actually stops being eccentric 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 that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of everything.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Development Environment
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or really real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin habits for great reasons, but those restrictions limit flexibility and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured permits less adaptability too. 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 gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to factor additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Business. And this point goes further if your website needs lots of plugins for full functionality.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot truly do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for efficiency & not needing to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Wp Engine Development Environment
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even include a lot of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits needs extra costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the cost. You can’t utilize them to expand the cost of your plan,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is an expensive option, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however exactly what is best for you based upon your goals, budget, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a strong product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to fret about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think about their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more freedom/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Wp Engine Development Environment