WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Fios
While they have lots of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all vary in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, however 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 rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is necessary 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 individual experience. That’s great but I take a various technique. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wpengine Fios
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various projects given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying client or specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Fios
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, however the guideline is that the more complicated your site is, the more intricate the solutions to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with an affordable shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom-made style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a slow site doesn’t imply that you need a bigger, much better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may just need to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to stay quick as you grow. There are plenty of options … but either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually tailored servers with very aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Wpengine Fios
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional scripts, too many 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 start loading the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right from the box, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or intricate the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services given that you are totally free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, but they likewise provide international data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Fios
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Fios
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough thing about client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is due to the fact that they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or an expense.
I like to try to find access, systems, and understanding, all three need an investment of money, time and expertise.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the website through 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 operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of numerous concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Fios
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly due to the fact that their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). However they seem to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security essentials 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that even though security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site protected is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something happens. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have assisted customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a generally costly circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wpengine Fios
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which enable more storage & more visits (ie, basically as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your setup 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 whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost 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 might be WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or developer time repairing problems.
Generally, if your time is better allocated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wpengine Fios
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that process occur. The phone support is a crucial aspect, particularly being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd client type is a start-up website owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on introducing a near-complete site all at once.
They don’t have any prior practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wpengine Fios
WP Engine excels not just on current features but likewise on developing new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have altered radically given that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to integrate finest practices into implementation & jobs with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And lots of are valid because they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some customers. I do not utilize them for this website since I do not need a number of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Fios
All that said, here are some of the larger photo drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite complicated– especially if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can lead to some designers making mistakes varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website available to the public or just not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they currently do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe finest practice for the basic user. Wpengine Fios
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to watch that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (once you surpass the knowing curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of site lists to help troubleshoot 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 they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just look after everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wpengine Fios
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or very genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin habits for great reasons, however those restrictions limit versatility and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured allows for less flexibility too. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also expensive to pay based on a number of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to aspect additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your site requires numerous plugins for full functionality.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t actually do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up having to do a painful migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for efficiency & not needing to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Wpengine Fios
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr duration 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 fairly transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even consist of a lot of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local 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 tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to spread out the expense of your plan,particularly 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 & serve up your site files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, especially compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, however exactly what is best for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a terrific service with a solid product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to fret about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more freedom/ better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wpengine Fios