WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Users
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first business to supply handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wp Engine Users
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the growth 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 short version: They all vary in services provided. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as an entire, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is very important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a various method. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engine Users
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various jobs considering that 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing 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 companies pointed out. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 Users
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your website is, the more intricate the solutions to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a few fundamental plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually extra plugins, custom theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
But a slow site doesn’t imply that you need a bigger, much better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, however sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might simply have to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to stay quick as you grow. There are lots of options … however either you or a designer must execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually tailored servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and identify the exact chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Wp Engine Users
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to start loading the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right from package, and have it remain that way 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 back at better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are free to focus on speed aspects that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, but they also provide worldwide information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Users
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Users
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a huge 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 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 tough thing about customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never know if the story is since they spoke with 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 business deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I prefer to try to find gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three require an investment of cash, time and expertise.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site via chat.
Based on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually engaged with actually knew the great workings of WordPress and has 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 client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Users
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically because their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). However they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security basics are fairly simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site secure is still eventually 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 & all set to roll back if something happens. Given that you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a lot of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have helped clients who have been. It’s aggravating, laborious & an usually pricey circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Users
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup strategy 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, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both which enable more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or designer time repairing problems.
Generally, if your time is better allocated far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Users
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing fundamental website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a key aspect, especially being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s special backend and intend on launching a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any prior practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, so many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engine Users
WP Engine excels not only on current functions however likewise on creating new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually altered drastically since I began observing the market *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to incorporate finest practices into execution & projects with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And many stand due to the fact that they simply aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some clients. I don’t utilize them for this site because I do not need much of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Users
All that stated, here are some of the larger image disadvantages 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 rather made complex– especially if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the unique backend can result in some developers making mistakes ranging from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open to the public or simply not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice clients than they currently do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss best practice for the general user. Wp Engine Users
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to see that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a substantial offer (when you get past the knowing curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website lists to assist 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 that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Users
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise connected 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 consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, but those restrictions limit flexibility and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured enables less adaptability too. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a variety of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to factor additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Service. And this point goes further if your site needs numerous plugins for complete performance.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot actually do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for efficiency & not having to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Users
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned previously that does not even consist of much of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the rate. You can’t use them to expand the cost of your strategy,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest overall, however exactly what is best for you based on your objectives, budget, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a solid item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to fret 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 warranty. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more flexibility/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wp Engine Users