WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Vps
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to offer managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wp Engine Vps
While they have a lot of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has become a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all differ in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is necessary to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a different technique. This review will take a 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 Vps
I’ve used WP Engine for numerous jobs since 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a present customer on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies discussed. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their promo pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wp Engine Vps
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, but the general rule is that the more complex your site is, the more intricate the solutions to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a few fundamental plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with an affordable shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally extra plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
However a sluggish site does not suggest that you need a larger, better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of options … but either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually customized servers with extremely aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and recognize the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Wp Engine Vps
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to begin filling the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right out of package, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or complicated the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services given that you are free to focus on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an incorporated CDN, however they also supply global information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Vps
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Vps
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, managed 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 business has actually 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 stated, the hard thing about client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is since they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I prefer to try to find access, systems, and knowledge, all three require a financial investment of loan, time and expertise.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing far better striking all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the site via chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has engaged with really understood the fine workings of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of a number of problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Vps
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially because their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). However 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 Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security essentials are fairly uncomplicated:
- 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 observe that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website protected is still ultimately 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 everything off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a great deal of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped customers who have been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a typically costly circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Vps
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and just approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which enable more storage & more visits (ie, basically as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing downside 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 very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your installation 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 whole month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month 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 charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or developer time repairing concerns.
Generally, if your time is better allocated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a handled 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 Vps
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first client type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer 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 also established enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a key aspect, especially having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup website owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s special backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website at one time.
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 functions, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, so many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engine Vps
WP Engine stands out not just on present functions however also on developing new, advanced hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new designer features that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even basic web development finest practices have changed drastically given that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web advancement to incorporate best practices into application & tasks 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And numerous stand since they simply aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some clients. I don’t utilize them for this site since I do not require a number of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Vps
All that stated, here are some of the bigger photo downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be quite complicated– specifically if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise do not offer 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 duplicate content problems to leaving the dev website open to the public or simply not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they already do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever discuss finest practice for the general user. Wp Engine Vps
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to watch that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a substantial offer (once you get past the learning curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of site lists to help fix all sorts of problems.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply look after everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Vps
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected to 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 predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very genuine physical limitations), however 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 dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for good reasons, however those restrictions restrict flexibility and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured enables less adaptability as well. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a variety of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to aspect extra 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 site on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Service. And this point goes further if your site requires numerous plugins for complete performance.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you cannot actually do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up needing to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In either 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 performance & not needing to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a 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 consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Vps
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the very 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) managed more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely deal with 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 quickly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even include many of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to spread out the expense of your plan,especially if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are looking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up 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 total, but what is finest for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a strong product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to worry about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more liberty/ much better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wp Engine Vps