WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Store Locator
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to supply managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wp Engine Store Locator
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name recognition and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has become a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However 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.
Then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as a whole, they all compete with standard 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 very important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a different method. 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 Store Locator
I’ve utilized WP Engine for numerous jobs considering that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies mentioned. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Store Locator
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, but the general rule is that the more intricate your site is, the more complex the options to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of basic plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally additional plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
But a slow website doesn’t suggest that you need a bigger, much better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, but in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may just have to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to stay fast as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … however either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have customized servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and determine the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Wp Engine Store Locator
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating 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 one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional 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 begin filling the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right out of package, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complex the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are 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 also supply worldwide information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Store Locator
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Store Locator
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among 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 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 stated, the hard aspect of client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never understand if the story is due to the fact that they spoke 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 company treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I prefer to look for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need a financial investment of money, time and proficiency.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website through chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually engaged with in fact knew the fine functions of WordPress and has had the ability 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 representative was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly assist us “turn 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 Store Locator
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,especially because their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the downsides). However they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. 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. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a very large neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security essentials 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 utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially 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. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security firms on code reviews 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 actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped customers who have been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a typically pricey scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Store Locator
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which enable more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k visits per month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & 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 monthly charge right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee 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 entire regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or designer time fixing problems.
Generally, if your time is much better designated away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Store Locator
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 fit for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first client type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on development & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing standard website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing website owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a crucial element, specifically being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on introducing a near-complete site at one time.
They don’t have any prior habits or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. Wp Engine Store Locator
WP Engine excels not only on existing features however likewise on creating new, advanced hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even basic web development best practices have actually changed radically because I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to integrate finest practices into implementation & 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And lots of are valid because they merely aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some clients. I don’t utilize them for this website because I do not need a lot of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Store Locator
All that stated, here are some of the larger image downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be quite complicated– specifically if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the special backend can lead to some designers making errors ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev website available to the public or simply not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they already do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain best practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Store Locator
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to enjoy that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a substantial offer (as soon as you surpass the learning curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website lists to help repair all sorts of problems.
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 most of the times, 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 get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Store Locator
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or extremely real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, however 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 sized websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured allows for less adaptability also. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s also costly to pay based upon a number of sees.
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 wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Service. And this point goes further if your website needs lots of plugins for full performance.
The 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 use case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot really do automated email marketing campaigns 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 discovered with WP Engine, their rates based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for performance & not needing to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically visiting frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Wp Engine Store Locator
Many shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr duration 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 relatively transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned previously that does not even consist of a number of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to spread out the expense of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are wanting 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 best general, but exactly what is finest for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a great service with a solid item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to fret about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see exactly what you think about their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more flexibility/ much better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wp Engine Store Locator