WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Gzip
While they have a lot of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all differ in services provided. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as an entire, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is necessary to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a various approach. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Gzip
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various projects because 2012. I do not use them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current customer on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their discount 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 Gzip
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, however the guideline is that the more complicated your website is, the more intricate the options to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a few standard plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with an economical shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally extra plugins, customized style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish site doesn’t suggest that you require a bigger, better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply have to eliminate the emergency brake, install 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 plenty of solutions … however either you or a developer must implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually personalized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and determine the exact chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Wp Engine Gzip
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform since 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):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin packing the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right from package, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or complicated the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services given that you are complimentary to concentrate on speed aspects that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, but they likewise supply international information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Gzip
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Gzip
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a 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 stated, the difficult feature of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is because they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or an expense.
I want to search for access, systems, and knowledge, all three need an investment of money, time and proficiency.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting all three boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually interacted with actually understood the great operations of WordPress and has 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 customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to expertly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Gzip
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially 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). However they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security essentials are relatively simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something happens. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a great deal of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have assisted customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & a generally costly situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Gzip
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both which allow for more storage & more visits (ie, basically as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes on a monthly basis. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or developer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is better designated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Gzip
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on advancement & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process occur. The phone support is a key element, especially having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd client type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on launching a near-complete website at one time.
They don’t have any previous routines or customizeds 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 provide support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this review revision. Wp Engine Gzip
WP Engine excels not just on current features but also on producing new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new developer features that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually changed significantly since I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to incorporate best practices into application & projects with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of are valid 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 a great fit for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this site due to the fact that I do not require a number of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Gzip
All that stated, here are a few of the larger picture downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain 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 unsafe.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the distinct backend can result in some developers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website open up to the public or merely not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they already do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever discuss finest practice for the general user. Wp Engine Gzip
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to watch that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a huge deal (once you get past the learning curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of site checklists to help troubleshoot all sorts of issues.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply take care of everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Gzip
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or very genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin behavior for great factors, however those bans limit versatility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For instance, 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 permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured permits less versatility also. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise expensive to pay based on a variety of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to aspect 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 handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Business. And this point goes further if your website requires numerous plugins for full performance.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are planning to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot actually do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do a painful migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not needing to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you truly do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Wp Engine Gzip
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour duration 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 check outs, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned previously that doesn’t even include a number of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the rate. You can’t utilize them to spread out the cost of your strategy,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a costly choice, especially compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest total, however exactly what is best for you based upon your goals, budget, resources & practices.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a terrific service with a strong product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to stress over hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you consider their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more liberty/ better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Wp Engine Gzip