WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Mail Server
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first business to supply managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wp Engine Mail Server
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all differ in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as an entire, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting options.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is very important to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, typically with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a various method. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Mail Server
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various projects given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my main sites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying client 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 promise “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” Here is their promo pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wp Engine Mail Server
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your website is, the more complex the services to speed become.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a few standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally extra plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
However a slow website doesn’t mean that you require a larger, much better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture 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 remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to stay quick as you grow. There are lots of services … but either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have personalized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Wp Engine Mail Server
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional 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, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to start loading the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right from the box, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or complicated the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are totally free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an integrated CDN, but they also supply global data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Mail Server
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Mail Server
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are truly 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 among 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 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 said, the hard thing about customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is since they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to search for access, systems, and understanding, all 3 require a financial investment of loan, time and expertise.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the site by means of chat.
Based on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually connected with actually knew the great workings of WordPress and has actually had the ability 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 during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Mail Server
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly because their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). However they appear to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials are fairly simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a great deal of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted clients who have been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a generally pricey scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Mail Server
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same rate 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 each month.
Both of which permit more storage & more visits (ie, basically as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates every 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 entire monthly charge right there.
If you lose any sees 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 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 problems or downtime costs lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time fixing problems.
Essentially, if your time is better allocated far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Mail Server
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable 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 customer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on advancement & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches 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 fundamental site 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 frustrated at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a key aspect, specifically having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on releasing a near-complete site all at once.
They don’t have any prior practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and supply support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of clients, 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 enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engine Mail Server
WP Engine stands out not only on current functions however also on producing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new designer features that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually changed radically given that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand enough web advancement to incorporate finest practices into execution & jobs with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And many are valid due to the fact that they merely aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this site because I do not require a number of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Mail Server
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger image drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite made complex– particularly if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can result in some designers making errors ranging from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open to the public or merely not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they currently do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe finest practice for the general user. Wp Engine Mail Server
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to enjoy that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a big deal (once you surpass the knowing curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of site checklists to help fix 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 in many cases, support will just take care of all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Mail Server
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or very genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit further to define 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 prohibit specific plugins & admin behavior for excellent reasons, however those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured enables less flexibility too. It’s a favorable 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 company; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element extra hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Service. And this point goes even more if your site needs numerous plugins for complete performance.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you can’t actually do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for efficiency & not needing to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Wp Engine Mail Server
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can get into 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 cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your plan,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, however exactly what is best for you based upon your objectives, spending plan, resources & routines.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a fantastic service with a strong product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to fret about hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see exactly what you think of their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more flexibility/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, 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 simplify things. Wp Engine Mail Server