WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Funding
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first business to provide managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wp Engine Funding
While they have plenty of competitors 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 growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all differ in services provided. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, 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 site content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is necessary to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a different technique. This review 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 Funding
I’ve used WP Engine for numerous projects considering that 2012. I do not use them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business discussed. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, effective 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 Funding
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, however the guideline is that the more complex your site is, the more complex the solutions to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text site with a few standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically additional plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site does not indicate that you require a bigger, better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture 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 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 needs aid to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … however either you or a developer should implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with very aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the exact chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Wp Engine Funding
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs because they have such a tailored caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional 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 rapidly the server returned enough data to start loading the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right from the box, and have it remain that way no matter how big or complicated the site gets.
*Note 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 might get with other services given that you are free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, however they likewise provide global data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Funding
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Funding
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very 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 ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard thing about customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is since they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I prefer to search for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need a financial investment of cash, time and proficiency.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually engaged with really understood the fine workings of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Funding
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). But they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a very large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security basics are relatively straightforward:
- 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a lot of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tedious & a normally pricey circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Funding
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both which allow for more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of small WordPress websites 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 value & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is fantastic.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup 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 monthly fee right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or designer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is much better designated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Funding
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine seems 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 client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a key factor, specifically being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a startup website owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s special backend and intend on launching a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any previous practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, so many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engine Funding
WP Engine stands out not just on existing features however likewise on creating brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented new designer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually changed radically since I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know enough web development to integrate finest practices into application & tasks 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 very best fit for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous are valid due to the fact that they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some consumers. I do not utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not need many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Funding
All that said, here are a few of the bigger image disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be quite complicated– specifically if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can cause some designers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev site open to the general public or simply not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice consumers than they already do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never discuss best practice for the general user. Wp Engine Funding
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed 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 remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (when you get past the knowing curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site checklists to help troubleshoot 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 that they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply look after everything.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Funding
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods terms of lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for great reasons, however those bans limit versatility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. 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 enables less versatility as well. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based on a number of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to aspect additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Business. And this point goes even more if your website needs lots of plugins for complete performance.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot truly do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In any case, 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 spending for efficiency & not having to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you truly don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually visiting regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Wp Engine Funding
Many shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly manage 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” website owners how quickly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out previously that does not even include a lot of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits needs additional costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You can’t use them to expand the cost of your strategy,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is an expensive option, especially compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, however exactly what is finest for you based on your goals, budget, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to stress over hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see what you consider their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more flexibility/ much better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive client service.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wp Engine Funding