WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Investors
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to supply handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wp Engine Investors
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all vary in services supplied. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as an entire, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is essential to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a different method. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Investors
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different tasks given that 2012. I don’t use them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), however I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “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 Investors
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your site is, the more complicated the services to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually extra plugins, customized style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site does not suggest that you need a bigger, better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, but in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may just need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to stay quick as you grow. There are plenty of options … but either you or a developer need to implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually personalized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and identify the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wp Engine Investors
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs because they have such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind 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 great to have that type of speed right from the box, and have it remain that method no matter how big or intricate the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are totally free to concentrate 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 supplies an incorporated CDN, however they likewise supply international data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Investors
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Investors
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & changed 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 aspect of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never know if the story is because they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I want to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of cash, time and expertise.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has interacted with actually understood the fine functions of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Investors
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,specifically due to the fact that their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That implies 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 very large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security basics are fairly 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 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 simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not 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 & ready to roll back if something happens. Given that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have helped clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a normally expensive circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Investors
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and only up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both which permit more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 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 visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or designer time fixing issues.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Investors
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. 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 lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first customer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process occur. The phone support is a key aspect, especially having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a start-up website owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any previous habits or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make promises and offer support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, so many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this review modification. Wp Engine Investors
WP Engine excels not only on current features but also on producing new, advanced hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new developer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually changed significantly because I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to integrate best practices into execution & 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And lots of are valid since they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some clients. I don’t utilize them for this site due to the fact that I do not need a number of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Investors
All that stated, here are a few of the larger image disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be quite complicated– particularly if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they also do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the unique backend can lead to some developers making mistakes ranging from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site available to the public or merely not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they currently do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Investors
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to enjoy that video several 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 custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a huge deal (when you surpass the knowing curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of site checklists to help troubleshoot 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 why they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just look after everything.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Investors
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely 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 pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin behavior for great factors, but those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured permits less adaptability too. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s also costly to pay based upon a number of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Company. And this point goes even more if your site needs many plugins for full functionality.
The exact same goes 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.
Additionally, you can’t actually do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for performance & not having to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the features you’re getting, you really don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically visiting regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Investors
Many shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that does not even consist of much of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires extra costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably 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 price. You can’t use them to spread out the expense of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a costly choice, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, but what is finest for you based on your objectives, spending plan, 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 offer more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to stress over hosting issues.
If handled 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 set up and see exactly what you think of their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more flexibility/ better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Wp Engine Investors