WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engines
While they have plenty of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as an entire, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it’s important to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a various approach. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engines
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various jobs because 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), however I do have a present client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their discount pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wp Engines
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your website is, the more complicated the services to speed become.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a few basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally additional plugins, custom theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
But a sluggish website does not indicate that you need a larger, better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, however in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply have to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to stay quick as you grow. There are lots of services … but either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the exact chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Wp Engines
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to start loading the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right out of package, and have it remain that way no matter how big or intricate the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services since you are complimentary to concentrate on speed aspects that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an incorporated CDN, however they also supply global data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engines
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engines
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a big 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 business has grown & changed 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 consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is because they talked to 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 company treats support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to look for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three need a financial investment of money, time and expertise.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually communicated with actually knew the fine workings of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly help 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 Engines
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically because their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the downsides). 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 whole Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security essentials 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, 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. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have assisted customers who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a generally costly scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Wp Engines
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which enable more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k visits each month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or designer time fixing problems.
Generally, if your time is much better assigned away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wp Engines
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on development & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing website owner who is irritated at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a key element, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client 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 unique backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website all at once.
They do not have any previous habits or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this review revision. Wp Engines
WP Engine stands out not just on present functions however also on creating new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented new designer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually altered significantly given that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know adequate web development to integrate finest practices into implementation & projects 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 very best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And lots of are valid due to the fact that they merely 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 do not utilize them for this site since I do not need a number of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engines
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 difference can be quite complicated– particularly if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the distinct backend can lead to some designers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site available to the public or just not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they currently do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever explain best practice for the basic user. Wp Engines
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to see that video numerous 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 going to be a big offer (once you surpass the learning curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of site lists to assist repair all sorts of concerns.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in most cases, support will just look after it all.
However, 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 need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engines
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to decreasing & increasing intricacy.
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 uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or extremely real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for good factors, however those restrictions restrict flexibility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured allows for less flexibility as well. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also pricey to pay based on a variety of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to element additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want 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 Company. And this point goes even more if your website requires many plugins for full functionality.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot actually do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending for performance & not having to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you truly don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engines
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) handled more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr 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 visits, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even consist of much of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are planning to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, especially compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however what is best for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t 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 install and see what you think of their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more liberty/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wp Engines