WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Values
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all differ in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is necessary to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a different technique. This evaluation 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 Values
I’ve used WP Engine for different projects given that 2012. I don’t use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, powerful 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 Values
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, however the guideline is that the more complicated your website is, the more intricate the solutions to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text website with a few basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually extra plugins, customized style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
However a slow website does not suggest that you need a larger, better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to carry 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 just need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up 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 lots of solutions … however either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with very aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and identify the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wp Engine Values
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra 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 quickly the server returned enough data to begin packing the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that way no matter how big or complex the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are free to focus on speed elements that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, however they also offer worldwide information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Values
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Values
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are really selling 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 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 business has grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard feature of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever know if the story is since they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I prefer to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all three need a financial investment of money, time and proficiency.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the site via chat.
Based on their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has communicated with really understood the fine operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after several issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Values
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly because their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). However they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are fairly 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that although security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe and 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 whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something happens. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have helped clients who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & a generally expensive scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Values
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both of which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, essentially as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty 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 entire monthly charge right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) 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 concerns or downtime costs lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time repairing concerns.
Basically, if your time is much better designated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Values
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer 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 spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing fundamental website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing website 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 much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that process occur. The phone support is a key factor, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd client type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on launching a near-complete site simultaneously.
They do not have any prior practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wp Engine Values
WP Engine excels not only on present functions however likewise on creating brand-new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented new designer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually changed significantly because I started observing the market *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to incorporate best practices into execution & jobs with developers.
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 best fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of are valid since they simply aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some clients. I do not use them for this website since I do not need many of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Values
All that stated, here are some of the bigger picture disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be quite complicated– especially if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can result in some designers making mistakes varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website open up to the general public or just not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more novice clients than they currently do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Values
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to view that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a huge offer (as soon as you get past the learning curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website lists to help troubleshoot all sorts of concerns.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And in most cases, support will just look after everything.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Values
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods terms of lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for good factors, however those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured permits less adaptability also. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to factor extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes further if your website requires numerous plugins for complete functionality.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are planning to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot actually do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another email company mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not needing to believe too much 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 think of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Values
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) handled more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable 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 rather a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out previously that does not even consist of a number of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits requires extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your strategy,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, especially compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, but what is finest for you based on your objectives, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a fantastic service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to worry about hosting problems.
If managed 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 install and see what you think about their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more flexibility/ better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer support.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wp Engine Values