WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Hackathon
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to supply handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Hackathon
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all differ in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is very important to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a various approach. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Hackathon
I have actually used WP Engine for various tasks since 2012. I don’t use them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a present customer on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” 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 Hackathon
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, but the guideline is that the more complicated your site is, the more complicated the solutions to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally additional plugins, customized style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a slow website does not mean that you require a larger, better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may just need to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to remain quick as you grow. There are lots of options … however either you or a developer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have actually personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Wp Engine Hackathon
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up 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 theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough information to start loading the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it stay that method no matter how big or complex the website 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 considering that you are free to focus on speed elements that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, however they likewise supply worldwide information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Hackathon
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Hackathon
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a huge 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 & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough aspect of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never know if the story is since they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to try to find gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three need a financial investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing far better striking all three boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the site via chat.
Based on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually interacted with actually understood the fine workings of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of a number of issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Hackathon
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially since their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display 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 entire Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem 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 set up, the security essentials are fairly 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 utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something takes place. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a lot of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have assisted clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a generally costly scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Hackathon
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are simply 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 handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty 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 entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time repairing concerns.
Basically, if your time is better assigned away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Hackathon
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a key aspect, particularly being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a start-up website owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s special backend and intend on introducing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They do not have any prior routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and supply support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, so many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engine Hackathon
WP Engine excels not only on existing functions however also on developing brand-new, innovative hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have actually altered radically considering that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web advancement to integrate finest practices into implementation & projects 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous stand because they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some clients. I do not utilize them for this website because I do not require much of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Hackathon
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger photo disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be rather complicated– particularly if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the special backend can lead to some developers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website available to the general public or just not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice customers than they currently do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Hackathon
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to view that video multiple 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 custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a substantial deal (when you get past the learning curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site checklists to assist fix 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.
Again– they have reasons that they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply look after everything.
But, 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 numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Hackathon
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or really genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban specific plugins & admin behavior for great reasons, but those bans restrict flexibility and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured enables less versatility also. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise costly to pay based on a number of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to aspect extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your website requires lots of plugins for full performance.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot truly do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up needing to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for efficiency & not needing to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Wp Engine Hackathon
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour 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 gos to, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even consist of a lot of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to spread out the cost of your plan,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than 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 a pricey alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, but exactly what is best for you based upon your objectives, budget, resources & routines.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a terrific service with a strong product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to fret about hosting concerns.
If handled 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 what you think about their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more freedom/ much better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wp Engine Hackathon