WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Hosting Plans
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to provide handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Hosting Plans
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher cost 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 choices, but as a whole, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it’s important to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a various method. 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 Hosting Plans
I’ve used WP Engine for different jobs given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” Here is their promotion pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wp Engine Hosting Plans
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complex your website is, the more complex the solutions to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically extra plugins, customized theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a slow site doesn’t suggest that you require a bigger, much better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to transport a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might simply need to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to stay fast as you grow. There are plenty of services … however either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with extremely aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and identify the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Wp Engine Hosting Plans
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among 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 determines how quickly the server returned enough information to begin packing the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right from the box, and have it stay that way no matter how big or complicated the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are complimentary to focus on speed elements that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, but they likewise provide international information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Hosting Plans
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Hosting Plans
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a huge emphasis 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 company has actually 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 stated, the tough aspect of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever know if the story is because they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or a cost.
I want to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three need an investment of money, time and competence.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website via chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has connected with in fact understood the great operations of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Hosting Plans
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,specifically due to the fact that their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the downsides). But they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something takes place. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a lot of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped customers who have been. It’s discouraging, tedious & an usually expensive circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Hosting Plans
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your 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 plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both which allow for more storage & more sees (ie, basically as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup 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 regular monthly charge right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or developer time fixing issues.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Hosting Plans
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. 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 plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that process occur. The phone support is a crucial aspect, especially having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on introducing a near-complete site all at once.
They don’t have any prior routines or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, 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 originating from, numerous of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this review modification. Wp Engine Hosting Plans
WP Engine excels not just on existing features but also on developing brand-new, innovative hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new developer features that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even basic web development best practices have actually altered radically since I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know enough web development to incorporate finest practices into execution & 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 best suitable for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of stand due to the fact that they just aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some clients. I do not utilize them for this website since I do not need much of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Hosting Plans
All that said, here are some of the larger picture drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be rather made complex– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the unique backend can cause some developers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev site available to the general 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 clients than they already do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever describe finest practice for the general user. Wp Engine Hosting Plans
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to watch that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a big deal (when you surpass the knowing curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site lists to help 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 they do all this. And most of the times, support will just take care of all of it.
But, 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 lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Hosting Plans
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is also associated with 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 need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or very genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for excellent reasons, but those bans restrict flexibility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured allows for less flexibility also. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise expensive to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply wish 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 flexible 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 allow on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your site needs lots of plugins for complete performance.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot really do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up having to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for performance & not needing to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the features you’re getting, you really don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Wp Engine Hosting Plans
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that doesn’t even consist of much of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits needs extra expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot use them to spread out the cost of your plan,especially if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are looking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, especially compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, but what is best for you based on your goals, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a solid product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to worry about hosting issues.
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 warranty. So do a test install and see exactly what you think about their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more liberty/ better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
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 quiz to simplify things. Wp Engine Hosting Plans