WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Inc Texas
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to offer managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Inc Texas
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, 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 variation: They all vary in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is very important to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, usually with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a various method. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engine Inc Texas
I have actually used WP Engine for various tasks since 2012. I do not use them for my main websites today (see conclusion), however I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their promo pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wp Engine Inc Texas
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, but the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more complex the options to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of basic plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with an economical shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually extra plugins, custom-made theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish website does not suggest that you need a larger, much better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might just need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of services … however either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a typical web host. 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 Inc Texas
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough information to start filling 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 site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that you are complimentary to focus 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 offers an incorporated CDN, but they also offer worldwide information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Inc Texas
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Inc Texas
Consumer 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 an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very 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 actually grown & altered a lot since then. 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, however you never ever understand if the story is due to the fact that they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I prefer to try to find access, systems, and understanding, all 3 require a financial investment of money, time and knowledge.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually engaged with actually understood the great functions 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 client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of numerous issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Inc Texas
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support issues,especially because their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals are fairly 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that despite the fact that security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically 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 happens. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have helped customers who have been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a generally pricey situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Inc Texas
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, basically as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k visits per month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & 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 cost right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time fixing problems.
Essentially, if your time is much better designated 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 an investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Inc Texas
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of clients 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 procedure, the very first customer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on development & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the website 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 handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing basic site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a key factor, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any prior routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engine Inc Texas
WP Engine stands out not just on existing features but likewise on producing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new designer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have actually changed radically because I started observing the market *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to integrate best practices into execution & projects 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And lots of are valid because they simply aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some clients. I do not use them for this website because I do not require much of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Inc Texas
All that stated, here are some of the bigger 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 quite complicated– particularly if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can lead to some developers making mistakes ranging from irritating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev website available to the public or just not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they currently do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Inc Texas
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to enjoy that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (as soon as you get past the learning curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site checklists to assist fix all sorts of problems.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter 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 Inc Texas
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also 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 uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for good factors, but those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured enables less versatility also. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s also pricey to pay based upon a variety of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Service. And this point goes even more if your website requires many plugins for full performance.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are planning to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot truly do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up having to do an unpleasant migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for efficiency & not having to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Wp Engine Inc Texas
Many shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out previously that does not even include a number 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 limits needs additional expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited 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 utilize them to spread out the cost of your strategy,specifically 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 & provide your site files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, especially compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest overall, however what is best for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a terrific service with a solid product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to fret about 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 warranty. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more freedom/ better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Wp Engine Inc Texas