WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Updates
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to offer handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wp Engine Updates
While they have plenty of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: 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 after that there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as a whole, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is essential to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, usually with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a different technique. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Updates
I have actually used WP Engine for different tasks since 2012. I don’t use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular 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 Updates
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, but the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more intricate the services to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text site with a few basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with an affordable shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally extra plugins, custom-made theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a slow site doesn’t mean 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 particular resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to transport a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may just have to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of options … however either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and determine the exact chokepoint to get your website moving. Wp Engine Updates
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed 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 puffed up style, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind 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 kind of speed right from package, and have it stay that way no matter how big or complicated the site gets.
*Note 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 might get with other services given that you are totally free to focus on speed factors that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an incorporated CDN, but they also offer global data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Updates
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Updates
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard feature of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never know if the story is because they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to look for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of cash, time and proficiency.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the website through chat.
Based on their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually engaged with actually knew the fine functions of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of numerous concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Updates
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically since their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the downsides). But they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials 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 commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, 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 happens. Given that you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a lot of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have helped clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a typically pricey situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Updates
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, dependable VPS (ie, your very 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 simply a couple dollars per month.
Both which permit more storage & more sees (ie, generally as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes on a monthly basis. 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 update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or developer time repairing concerns.
Generally, if your time is better assigned away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Updates
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first customer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing standard site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is an essential aspect, specifically having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd client type is a startup site owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on releasing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They do not have any previous routines or custom-mades 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 types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, so many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this review modification. Wp Engine Updates
WP Engine excels not only on present features but likewise on creating brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented new designer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web advancement best practices have changed significantly because I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to incorporate finest practices into application & projects with designers.
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 fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous are valid since they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some clients. I don’t use them for this site because I do not need many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Updates
All that said, here are some of the bigger image downsides of using 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 quite complicated– especially if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the special backend can cause some designers making mistakes varying from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site open to the public or just not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they currently do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe best practice for the general user. Wp Engine Updates
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to view that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (as soon as you get past the knowing curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website lists to assist repair 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.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in many cases, support will just look after everything.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Updates
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for excellent reasons, however those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured permits less versatility also. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s also expensive to pay based on a variety of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor additional 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 deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Service. And this point goes further if your website needs many plugins for full performance.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you can’t really do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do a painful migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for efficiency & not needing to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Wp Engine Updates
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the 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 standard caching) handled more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can certainly manage 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” site owners how quickly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that doesn’t even consist of many 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 requires additional costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to expand the expense of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are planning to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, but what is best for you based upon your goals, budget, resources & routines.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a solid product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to stress over hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see what you think of their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more liberty/ better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer support.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wp Engine Updates