WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Agencies
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 specifically for WordPress. Wpengine Agencies
While they have plenty 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 innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all vary in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as an entire, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is very important to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a different approach. This review 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. Wpengine Agencies
I have actually used WP Engine for different jobs given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my main sites today (see conclusion), however I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business discussed. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their promotion 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. Wpengine Agencies
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, however the general rule is that the more intricate your site is, the more intricate the options to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with an inexpensive shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally extra plugins, custom style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
But a slow website does not suggest that you need a larger, much better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might just need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to stay quickly as you grow. There are lots of solutions … but either you or a designer should implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and identify the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wpengine Agencies
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a tailored 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 puffed up style, extra scripts, a lot of 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 nice to have that kind of speed right out of the box, and have it remain 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 since you are free to focus on speed elements that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an incorporated CDN, however they likewise supply global data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Agencies
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Agencies
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard aspect of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is due to the fact that they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to look for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 need a financial investment of cash, time and competence.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the website via chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has connected with actually knew the fine workings of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to expertly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Agencies
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly due to the fact that their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). However they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, 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 site secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a great deal of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top 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 sites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, laborious & a typically costly circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wpengine Agencies
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both of which enable more storage & more sees (ie, generally as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes every 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 upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or developer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is better assigned far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really 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. Wpengine Agencies
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first customer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process take place. The phone support is an essential aspect, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third consumer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on launching a near-complete website all at once.
They do not have any prior habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make promises and offer support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wpengine Agencies
WP Engine excels not just on current features but also on developing brand-new, innovative hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have changed radically given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to incorporate finest practices into application & 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And lots of are valid since they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some consumers. I don’t use them for this site because I do not need a lot of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Agencies
All that said, here are some of the larger image disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be quite made complex– especially if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the distinct backend can lead to some designers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open up to the public or simply not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they currently do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the basic user. Wpengine Agencies
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to enjoy that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (when you get past the knowing curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website checklists to help 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.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply take care of all of it.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wpengine Agencies
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or extremely real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit more to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, but those restrictions restrict flexibility and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured enables less versatility as well. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise expensive to pay based on a number of sees.
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 need to factor additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Service. And this point goes even more if your site needs lots of plugins for full performance.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t truly do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another email company mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for performance & not having to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Wpengine Agencies
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs 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 sees, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even include many of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires additional expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the cost. You cannot use them to expand the expense of your strategy,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, however exactly what is finest for you based upon your goals, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide an excellent service with a strong product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to worry about hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see exactly what you think about their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more liberty/ better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Wpengine Agencies