WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Interview
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to supply handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wp Engine Interview
While they have plenty of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition 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 a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all vary in services supplied. 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 separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher price 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 alternatives, but as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is very important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, typically with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a different technique. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Interview
I’ve used WP Engine for different tasks given that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary 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 pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or specialist to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, however the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more intricate the services to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with an affordable shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically extra plugins, customized style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish site does not mean that you need a bigger, better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might simply have to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … but either you or a developer should implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a common web host. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the exact chokepoint to get your website moving. Wp Engine Interview
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing 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 theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin packing the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right from the box, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or complicated the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services because you are totally free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, but they likewise offer global data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Interview
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
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough thing about consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never know if the story is because they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I prefer to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three require a financial investment of money, time and know-how.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting all three boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the site through chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually communicated with really knew 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 in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Interview
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly since their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). But they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very 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 although security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something happens. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than 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 group. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have helped customers who have been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a generally pricey circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Interview
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and only as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both which allow for more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k check outs each month on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month 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 could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost 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 point out any personal or developer time fixing problems.
Generally, if your time is better allocated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Interview
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on development & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is a key element, especially having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on releasing a near-complete website all at once.
They do not have any prior routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engine Interview
WP Engine stands out not just on present functions but likewise on producing new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually altered drastically given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to incorporate finest practices into implementation & tasks 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And numerous are valid because they simply 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 do not use them for this website due to the fact that I do not require much of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Interview
All that said, here are some of the larger picture drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be rather complicated– particularly if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can cause some developers making mistakes varying from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open to the general public or just not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they currently do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Interview
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to see that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a big deal (once you get past the knowing curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website checklists to help repair 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.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And most of the times, support will just take care of everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Interview
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or very real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, however those restrictions limit flexibility and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized sites, 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 versatile and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured enables less versatility also. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also costly to pay based on a variety of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to element extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site 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 site needs numerous plugins for full functionality.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t actually do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up having to do a painful migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending for efficiency & not needing to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Interview
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even include much of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits needs extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to expand the cost of your strategy,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a costly choice, especially compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, but exactly what is best for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a great service with a solid product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to worry about hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see exactly what you think about their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more flexibility/ better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer support.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Wp Engine Interview