WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine File
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to supply handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wpengine File
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all differ in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer 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 truly buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as a whole, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it’s important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a various technique. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wpengine File
I have actually used WP Engine for various jobs because 2012. I don’t use them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying client or specialist 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 assure “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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. Wpengine File
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your website is, the more intricate the options to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text site with a few basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with an economical shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually extra plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish website doesn’t imply that you need a bigger, better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply have to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to stay quick as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … however either you or a developer must execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually tailored servers with very aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wpengine File
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra 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 rapidly the server returned enough information to begin packing the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that method no matter how big or complicated the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services given that you are complimentary to focus on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an incorporated CDN, however they also supply global information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine File
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine File
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my 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 & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard thing about client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never understand if the story is because they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all three need an investment of loan, time and competence.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has interacted with in fact understood the fine functions of WordPress and has been able 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 just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after several issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine File
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically due to the fact that their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the downsides). However they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a very large neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security basics are fairly uncomplicated:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something takes place. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have assisted clients who have been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a generally pricey situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wpengine File
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and just approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, dependable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both of which enable more storage & more visits (ie, basically as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k sees monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & 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 month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time fixing problems.
Generally, if your time is better designated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wpengine File
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first customer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer 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 need to move to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is an essential element, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a start-up website owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any prior routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and supply support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, numerous of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wpengine File
WP Engine excels not only on present functions but also on producing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually altered drastically since I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to integrate best practices into execution & projects with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And numerous are valid because they simply aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some clients. I don’t use them for this site due to the fact that I do not require much of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine File
All that said, here are a few of the bigger picture disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be rather made complex– especially if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the special backend can result in some designers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website available to the public or merely not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice clients than they already do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the general user. Wpengine File
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to view that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a huge offer (when you surpass the knowing curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of website checklists to assist troubleshoot all sorts of issues.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And most of the times, support will just take care of everything.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wpengine File
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban specific plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, but those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured allows for less flexibility also. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s also costly to pay based upon a number of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to aspect extra 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 website on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Company. And this point goes even more if your website requires numerous plugins for complete functionality.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot actually do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do a painful migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for efficiency & not having to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Wpengine File
Many shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed earlier that does not even consist of many of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the rate. You cannot use them to expand the cost of your strategy,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is an expensive option, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest total, but what is finest for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use an excellent service with a solid item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to fret about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a fit 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 what you think of their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more freedom/ much better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wpengine File