WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Gzip
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to offer handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wpengine Gzip
While they have lots of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all differ in services offered. Some merely 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 really buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is necessary to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, generally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine 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. Wpengine Gzip
I’ve used WP Engine for numerous jobs because 2012. I do not use them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), however 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 business pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client 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 Gzip
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, however the general rule is that the more complex your site is, the more complicated the options to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text website with a few basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish website doesn’t mean that you need a bigger, better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however often it’s more about caching specific resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might just have to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … however either you or a developer need to implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wpengine Gzip
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough data to start loading the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right from the box, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or complex the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that you are totally free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an integrated CDN, but they also offer worldwide data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Gzip
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Gzip
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among 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 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 stated, the difficult aspect of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever know if the story is because they talked with 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 deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require an investment of cash, time and know-how.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site via chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has communicated with in fact understood the fine operations 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 between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Gzip
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly since their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the downsides). However they seem to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required 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 nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security basics are relatively simple:
- 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 straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something takes place. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a great deal of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security firms on code evaluations 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 been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped customers who have been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a normally expensive situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Wpengine Gzip
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both of which permit more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k visits per month on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your own (or your developer’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 check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time repairing issues.
Basically, if your time is better assigned far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wpengine Gzip
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing site owner who is irritated at having to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is an essential factor, specifically having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third consumer type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on introducing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They do not have any previous habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these types of consumers, 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), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wpengine Gzip
WP Engine stands out not just on current functions but also on developing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out new developer features that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web development finest practices have altered drastically considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to integrate finest practices into execution & tasks with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And many stand since they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some clients. I don’t utilize them for this site due to the fact that I do not need a number of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Gzip
All that stated, here are some of the larger image downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be quite made complex– specifically if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
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 lots of hosting companies, they likewise don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the distinct backend can cause some developers making mistakes ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev website available to the general public or simply not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they currently do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the basic user. Wpengine Gzip
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to enjoy that video several 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 substantial offer (when you surpass the knowing curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website lists to assist repair all sorts of problems.
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 in most cases, support will simply take care of everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wpengine Gzip
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for good reasons, however those bans limit flexibility and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For example, 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 allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured permits less flexibility as well. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise expensive to pay based on a number of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to factor additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Service. And this point goes even more if your website needs many plugins for complete functionality.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you cannot really do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for performance & not needing to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Wpengine Gzip
Many shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) handled more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can definitely manage 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” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out previously that does not even include much of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You can’t use them to expand the expense of your plan,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are planning to spend 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 alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, however exactly what is best for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a fantastic service with a solid item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to stress over hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you think about their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more freedom/ better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. 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 quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wpengine Gzip