WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Interview Questions
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to offer handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Interview Questions
While they have plenty of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the site 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 alternatives, but as a whole, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it’s important to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a different technique. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Interview Questions
I’ve utilized WP Engine for different projects since 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “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 Interview Questions
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, but the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more complex the solutions to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
But a slow site doesn’t indicate that you need a larger, much better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might simply need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to stay fast as you grow. There are plenty of services … but either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have actually tailored servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common web host. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and recognize the precise chokepoint to get your site moving. Wp Engine Interview Questions
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs since 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 additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional 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 rapidly the server returned enough information to start 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 intricate the site gets.
*Keep in mind 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 might get with other services given that you are free to focus on speed elements that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, but they likewise provide global information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Interview Questions
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Interview Questions
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a huge focus 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 business has actually grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough aspect of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is since they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to try to find access, systems, and knowledge, all three require a financial investment of money, time and know-how.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website via chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has connected with really understood the fine functions of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Interview Questions
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially because their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). However they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security essentials are relatively uncomplicated:
- 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 business arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something takes place. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise 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 main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted customers who have been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a typically costly scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Interview Questions
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both of which permit more storage & more sees (ie, generally as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k visits each month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is fantastic.
Just running WordPress updates each month & 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 whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or developer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is much better assigned away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Interview Questions
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on development & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is an essential factor, particularly being able to “just 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 learning WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on introducing a near-complete site at one time.
They don’t have any previous habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. Wp Engine Interview Questions
WP Engine excels not just on existing functions however also on developing brand-new, innovative hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web development best practices have changed radically since I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to incorporate best practices into implementation & jobs with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many stand since they just aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some clients. I do not use them for this website because I do not require a number of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Interview Questions
All that stated, here are some of the larger picture drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be rather complicated– especially if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can cause some designers making mistakes ranging from irritating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev site open to the public or merely not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they already do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the general user. Wp Engine Interview Questions
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to enjoy that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a big offer (when you surpass the learning curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of site lists to help fix 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 they do all this. And in most cases, support will just take care of it all.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. 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, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Interview Questions
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for excellent reasons, however those restrictions restrict flexibility and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured enables less versatility also. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s also expensive to pay based on a number of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element 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 Business. And this point goes even more if your site needs numerous plugins for full functionality.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot really do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for efficiency & not having to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the features you’re getting, you actually don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Wp Engine Interview Questions
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that doesn’t even include many of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot use them to spread out the expense of your strategy,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, however exactly what is best for you based on your objectives, budget, resources & habits.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide an excellent service with a solid product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to stress over hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you think of their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more freedom/ much better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wp Engine Interview Questions