WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all vary in services provided. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as an entire, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is very important to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a various approach. 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
I’ve used WP Engine for various tasks considering that 2012. I do not utilize them for my main sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a present customer 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 information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “stunning speed, effective 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
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, however the guideline is that the more complex your site is, the more complicated the services to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally extra plugins, custom-made style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
But a slow site doesn’t suggest that you require a larger, much better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might just 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 requires help to stay quick as you grow. There are plenty of services … however either you or a developer must execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have customized servers with extremely aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wp Engine
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin filling the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right out of package, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complicated 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 may get with other services because you are complimentary to concentrate on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an incorporated CDN, however they likewise provide international information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position 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 company has actually grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult thing about client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never know if the story is since they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I want to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three require an investment of loan, time and proficiency.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the website through chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has interacted with actually knew the great operations of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’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” quickly in addition to taking care of numerous problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially since their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). But they seem to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals are relatively straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website 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 everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something takes place. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped clients who have been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & an usually costly circumstance (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
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, dependable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both which permit more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k gos to per month on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation 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 entire month-to-month fee right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or developer time repairing concerns.
Generally, if your time is better assigned far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an 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
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first client type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on advancement & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is an essential element, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup site owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s special backend and intend on launching a near-complete site simultaneously.
They do not have any prior practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these kinds of customers, 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), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this review modification. Wp Engine
WP Engine excels not just on existing features however also on producing brand-new, innovative hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented new designer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually altered drastically because I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand 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 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 best suitable for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And lots of are valid since they simply aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some customers. I don’t use them for this website due to the fact that I do not require many of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine
All that said, here are a few of the bigger photo 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 rather complicated– especially if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the distinct backend can lead to some designers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website available to the public or simply not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they already do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain finest practice for the general user. Wp Engine
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to see that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a substantial offer (once you get past the knowing curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of site checklists 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 simply look after everything.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wp Engine
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & 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 rather consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, but those restrictions restrict flexibility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured enables less adaptability also. 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 number of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to element additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes further if your site needs numerous plugins for complete performance.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot actually do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up needing to do a painful migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for performance & not needing to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Wp Engine
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even consist of a lot of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the cost. You can’t use them to expand the cost of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a pricey option, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, but what is finest for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to worry about hosting issues.
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 guarantee. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think of their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more flexibility/ much better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wp Engine