WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Valuation
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to provide managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Valuation
While they have plenty of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all vary in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as an entire, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is essential to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, usually with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a different technique. This review will 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 Valuation
I have actually used WP Engine for different projects because 2012. I do not use them for my main sites today (see conclusion), however I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies discussed. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client 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 “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer 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 Valuation
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, but the general rule is that the more intricate your site is, the more complicated the options to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically extra plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
But a sluggish site doesn’t suggest that you need a larger, much better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might simply need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to stay quick as you grow. There are plenty of options … but either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have personalized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Wp Engine Valuation
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin loading the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or complex the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services since you are complimentary to focus on speed elements that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an incorporated CDN, but they likewise provide international data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Valuation
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Valuation
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough thing about customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is since 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 treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to look for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 require a financial investment of money, time and know-how.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the website through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually interacted with really knew the fine functions 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 client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Valuation
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically due to the fact that their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But 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 Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are relatively straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site protected is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally 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. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a great deal of security issues globally 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 take care of it totally free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually helped customers who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a normally costly circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Valuation
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, 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 strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which enable more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k visits per month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your setup 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 month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or developer time fixing concerns.
Basically, if your time is much better designated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Valuation
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first customer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing basic site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that process take place. The phone support is a crucial aspect, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup website owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any prior routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, numerous of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wp Engine Valuation
WP Engine stands out not only on existing features but likewise on developing brand-new, innovative hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even basic web development best practices have actually altered significantly given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to integrate finest practices into implementation & tasks 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many are valid since they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some customers. I do not use them for this website because I do not require a lot of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Valuation
All that said, here are a few of the larger photo disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be quite made complex– particularly if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they likewise don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can lead to some designers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev site available to the general public or just not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they already do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Valuation
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to see that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (when you surpass the learning curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site 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 they do all this. And most of the times, support will just take care of it all.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Valuation
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or very real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin habits for good factors, but those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured permits less versatility as well. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also expensive to pay based on a variety of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or just wish to drive a surge 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 manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Business. And this point goes further if your site requires lots of plugins for full performance.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot truly do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for performance & not having to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Wp Engine Valuation
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even consist of many of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits needs extra 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 tasks or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to expand the cost of your strategy,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are looking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a costly choice, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, however what is finest for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a fantastic service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to stress over hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think of their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more flexibility/ better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer support.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Wp Engine Valuation