WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Inc
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all vary in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly 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 greater cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as a whole, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is necessary to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a various technique. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engine Inc
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different jobs because 2012. I don’t use them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or specialist to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer 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 Inc
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your website is, the more intricate the services to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of fundamental plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with an economical shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally additional plugins, customized style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a slow website does not suggest that you need a larger, better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but often it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying 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 just need to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to stay quickly as you grow. There are plenty of services … however either you or a developer must execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and recognize the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wp Engine Inc
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to start filling the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right from package, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or complicated the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are totally free to concentrate on speed elements that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, but they also offer international data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Inc
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
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of 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 & changed 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 tough feature of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever know if the story is since they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or a cost.
I like to search for access, systems, and understanding, all three require an investment of loan, time and expertise.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the website through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has interacted with actually knew the great workings of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Inc
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly because their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the downsides). However they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are relatively straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that even though security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have helped clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, laborious & a generally costly scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Inc
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, dependable 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 monthly.
Both of which allow for more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k visits per month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation 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 month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly cost 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 might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or designer time repairing problems.
Basically, if your time is much better designated far from technical issues, 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 a financial investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Inc
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 types 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 designers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing basic website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at having to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a crucial element, specifically being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd client type is a startup website owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s special backend and intend on releasing a near-complete site all at once.
They don’t have any previous practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this review modification. Wp Engine Inc
WP Engine excels not only on existing features but likewise on creating new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new designer features that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even basic web development best practices have altered radically given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to integrate best practices into application & tasks with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And lots of stand due to the fact that they just aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some clients. I don’t use them for this site since I do not need a number of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Inc
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger picture downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be rather complicated– particularly if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can lead to some designers making errors varying from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site available to the public or simply not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they already do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss finest practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Inc
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to custom-made 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 ideal IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a substantial deal (once you surpass the learning curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website checklists to assist 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.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply look after all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Inc
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for excellent reasons, but those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured permits less versatility too. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s also pricey to pay based upon a variety of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element extra 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 site on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Business. And this point goes even more if your site needs numerous plugins for complete functionality.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you cannot truly do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up needing to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for efficiency & not having to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the features you’re getting, you really don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Wp Engine Inc
Many shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour period 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 relatively transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even include a lot of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the cost. You cannot use them to expand the expense of your plan,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, but what is best for you based upon your objectives, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a terrific service with a strong item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to worry about hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see what you think of their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more liberty/ much better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Wp Engine Inc