WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Wordfence
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to offer handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Wordfence
While they have a lot of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire 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 features and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, however 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 rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as an entire, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, 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 evaluates online, generally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a different approach. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engine Wordfence
I’ve utilized WP Engine for different tasks given that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning 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 Wordfence
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your website is, the more complicated the services to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with an economical shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom-made style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish site doesn’t mean that you need a bigger, better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, but in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may just have to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to stay quickly as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … however either you or a developer should implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have customized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and identify the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Wp Engine Wordfence
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin packing the page.
It’s nice to have that kind of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or intricate the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that you are free to concentrate on speed factors that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an integrated CDN, but they also supply international information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Wordfence
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Wordfence
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (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:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough thing about customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is because they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I want to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require an investment of cash, time and know-how.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website by means of chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually engaged with actually knew the fine functions of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to expertly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after several concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Wordfence
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,especially since their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the downsides). However they seem to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are relatively simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something takes place. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a great deal of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security companies on code evaluations 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 actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have assisted clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tedious & a typically expensive scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Wordfence
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your very 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 each month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k check outs 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 downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates each 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 month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time fixing issues.
Basically, if your time is much better allocated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engine Wordfence
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very 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 constructs the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous standard website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a key aspect, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third consumer type is a startup site owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on launching a near-complete site at one time.
They do not have any prior habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this review revision. Wp Engine Wordfence
WP Engine stands out not only on present features however also on developing brand-new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new developer features that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even basic web development best practices have altered radically since I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to incorporate best practices into execution & tasks with designers.
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 suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And numerous stand due to the fact that they merely aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this website since I do not require much of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Wordfence
All that stated, here are some of the larger image downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be quite complicated– specifically if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the special backend can lead to some developers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website available to the public or simply not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice clients than they already do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever explain finest practice for the general user. Wp Engine Wordfence
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to view that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal 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 deal (when you surpass the learning curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of site lists to help troubleshoot all sorts of issues.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of it all.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine Wordfence
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit more to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin habits for great factors, but those bans limit versatility and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured enables less versatility too. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s also expensive to pay based upon a number of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to element extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Business. And this point goes further if your website needs numerous plugins for complete performance.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot really do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up having to do a painful migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for performance & not needing to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you actually don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Wp Engine Wordfence
Many shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic 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 dependable VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even consist of a number of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local 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 projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot use them to expand the expense of your plan,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however what is finest for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use an excellent service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to stress over hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think about their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more liberty/ much better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer service.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Wp Engine Wordfence