WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Workflow
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all differ in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as an entire, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is essential to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a various technique. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engine Workflow
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various tasks given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Workflow
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, however the general rule is that the more complicated your site is, the more complex the options to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a few standard plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally extra plugins, custom style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a slow website does not mean that you require a larger, better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may just need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain quick as you grow. There are lots of services … however either you or a developer should implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually tailored servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and recognize the exact chokepoint to get your website moving. Wp Engine Workflow
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough information to begin loading the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or complex the site gets.
*Note 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 because you are free to focus on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, but they also provide global data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Workflow
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Workflow
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my 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 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 feature of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is due to the fact that they spoke to 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 company treats support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to try to find access, systems, and understanding, all three need a financial investment of money, time and expertise.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all three boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually connected with actually knew the great operations 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 customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to expertly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Workflow
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially because their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals are fairly simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website protected 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 occurs. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have assisted customers who have been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a typically costly situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engine Workflow
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, dependable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both of which permit more storage & more visits (ie, generally as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, 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 website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or designer time repairing issues.
Essentially, if your time is better assigned 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 an investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Workflow
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at having to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a crucial element, specifically having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a startup site owner that has the budget and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any prior practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, so many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this review revision. Wp Engine Workflow
WP Engine excels not just on current functions however also on producing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually changed drastically considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web advancement to incorporate finest 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous are valid because they merely aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some consumers. I do not use them for this site since I do not need a lot of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Workflow
All that said, here are some of the bigger picture disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite complicated– specifically if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the unique backend can lead to some developers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website open up to the general public or simply not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they already do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever describe best practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Workflow
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to see that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you remain 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). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website lists to assist repair 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 that they do all this. And in most cases, support will just take care of everything.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Workflow
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or very genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, but those restrictions limit adaptability and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured allows for less adaptability as well. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a variety of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor additional hosting bills 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 allow on a Personal or Business. And this point goes even more if your website needs lots of plugins for full performance.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize 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 called for & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending for performance & not having to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Wp Engine Workflow
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even consist of 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 local storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the cost. You cannot use them to spread out the cost of your strategy,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, however exactly what is finest for you based upon your goals, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to stress over hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at 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. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more freedom/ better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wp Engine Workflow