WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Sales Operations Intern
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 handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wp Engine Sales Operations Intern
While they have lots of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all differ in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as an entire, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is essential to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, normally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a various approach. This evaluation will 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 Sales Operations Intern
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various projects since 2012. I don’t use them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their discount 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 Sales Operations Intern
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, but the guideline is that the more complicated your website is, the more complex the solutions to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a slow website does not suggest that you need a larger, better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, but in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may simply have to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to stay quickly as you grow. There are lots of solutions … however either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the specific chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Wp Engine Sales Operations Intern
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well 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, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to begin filling the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right out of package, and have it remain that way no matter how big or complex the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that you are complimentary to focus on speed elements that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an incorporated CDN, but they also offer global data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Sales Operations Intern
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Sales Operations Intern
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a big focus 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 business has actually grown & altered a lot ever since. 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 consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never 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 important part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to try to find gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 require a financial investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site through chat.
Based on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually communicated with really knew the fine operations of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Sales Operations Intern
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,especially since their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But they seem 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 suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security basics 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that even though 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 don’t lock it, keeping your site protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something happens. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a great deal of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a normally pricey scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Sales Operations Intern
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both which enable more storage & more gos to (ie, basically as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k sees monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However 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 & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates each month & 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 entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole 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 might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or designer time fixing issues.
Essentially, if your time is better designated away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Sales Operations Intern
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that process happen. The phone support is a key factor, specifically being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a start-up website owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on releasing a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any previous practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make promises and provide support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating 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, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wp Engine Sales Operations Intern
WP Engine excels not only on current features however also on producing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have altered significantly since I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to incorporate best 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And numerous are valid due to the fact that they simply aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some consumers. I don’t use them for this site due to the fact that I do not need many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Sales Operations Intern
All that said, here are a few of the larger photo downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be rather made complex– especially if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can result in some developers making errors ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev site available to the general public or merely not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they already do.
Like many custom 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 ever discuss best practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Sales Operations Intern
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to see 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 customized backend isn’t going to be a huge deal (when you surpass the learning curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never actually stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site lists to assist 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 in most cases, support will just look after all of it.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Sales Operations Intern
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of decreasing & 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 need to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin behavior for good factors, but those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sites, it does the job 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 with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured allows for less flexibility too. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a variety of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Company. And this point goes even more if your site requires lots of plugins for full functionality.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t truly do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up having to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for efficiency & not needing to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Wp Engine Sales Operations Intern
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that doesn’t even include a lot of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t use them to expand the expense of your plan,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest total, however what is best for you based on your goals, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a fantastic service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to fret about hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more freedom/ much better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of user-friendly 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 factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wp Engine Sales Operations Intern