WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Multisite
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to offer managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wp Engine Multisite
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all differ in services offered. 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 handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as a whole, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it’s important to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a different approach. This evaluation will take a 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 Multisite
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various projects because 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a present client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & viewpoint 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 assure “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 Multisite
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your site is, the more complicated the options to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of fundamental plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally extra plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish website does not indicate that you require a larger, much better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may simply have to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain quick as you grow. There are lots of solutions … but either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and recognize the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Wp Engine Multisite
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other 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 great to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that way no matter how big or complicated the website 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 considering that you are free to focus on speed factors that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an incorporated CDN, but they likewise offer international data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Multisite
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Multisite
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a big emphasis 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 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 said, the difficult feature of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever know if the story is because they talked to 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 treats support as an investment or a cost.
I want to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three need an investment of money, time and know-how.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing far better striking 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 available everywhere on the website through chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually interacted with really understood the fine operations of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to expertly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Multisite
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,especially because their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the downsides). However they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security basics are relatively straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something happens. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally 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 frustrating, tiresome & an usually expensive circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Multisite
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both of which permit more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k visits per month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is fantastic.
Simply 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 entire monthly cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or designer time fixing issues.
Generally, if your time is much better allocated far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial 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 Multisite
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is a crucial element, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd customer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s special backend and intend on releasing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They do not have any prior practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and supply support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wp Engine Multisite
WP Engine stands out not just on current functions however likewise on creating brand-new, innovative hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented new designer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even general web advancement best practices have altered radically considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to incorporate finest practices into application & jobs with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And lots of are valid since they simply aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some consumers. I do not use them for this site due to the fact that I do not need a lot of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Multisite
All that stated, here are a few of the larger image drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be quite complicated– particularly if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the distinct backend can cause some developers making mistakes ranging from irritating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site open to the public or merely not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they currently do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never discuss best practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Multisite
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to view that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a huge offer (when you get past the learning curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site checklists to assist repair 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.
Again– they have reasons why 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 site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Multisite
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or very genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for good factors, but those restrictions limit flexibility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured enables less flexibility also. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s also costly to pay based upon a variety of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or simply want 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 versatile you want 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 an Individual or Business. And this point goes further if your website needs numerous plugins for complete functionality.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you can’t truly do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another email company mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for efficiency & not needing to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the features you’re getting, you truly do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally logging in regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Wp Engine Multisite
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even include much of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional expenses & technical implementation 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 websites, you have to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your strategy,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are looking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, especially compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, however exactly what is best for you based upon your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a strong product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to worry about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think about their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more freedom/ much better prices than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer service.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wp Engine Multisite