WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Headquarters
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to supply managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wpengine Headquarters
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website 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 brief variation: They all vary in services provided. Some simply 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 managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses 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 material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as an entire, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is very important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a various technique. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wpengine Headquarters
I have actually used WP Engine for different tasks since 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client 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 information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or specialist to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 Headquarters
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 complex the options to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text website with a few basic plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally extra plugins, customized style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a slow website doesn’t suggest that you need a larger, much better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but sometimes it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may just have to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to remain fast as you grow. There are a lot of services … but either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have personalized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and recognize the precise chokepoint to get your site moving. Wpengine Headquarters
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing 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, additional scripts, too many 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 filling the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right from package, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or intricate the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are complimentary to focus on speed factors that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an integrated CDN, but they also provide international information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Headquarters
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Headquarters
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a huge 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 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 hard aspect of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever know if the story is since they talked with 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 deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I want to look for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need a financial investment of money, time and proficiency.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site by means of chat.
Based on their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has communicated with actually knew the fine operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Headquarters
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,especially since their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a huge community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials are relatively 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that despite the fact that security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website protected 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 whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something happens. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have helped clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, laborious & an usually pricey scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wpengine Headquarters
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both which enable more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k gos to each month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & 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 monthly charge right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time repairing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is better designated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wpengine Headquarters
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on development & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a crucial aspect, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third customer 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 finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on releasing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any previous practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and supply support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these types of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming 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, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wpengine Headquarters
WP Engine excels not only on existing features but likewise on producing brand-new, innovative hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new developer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually changed drastically considering that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to integrate finest practices into application & tasks 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And lots of stand because they merely aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some clients. I don’t use them for this site due to the fact that I do not need a lot of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Headquarters
All that stated, here are a few of the larger image drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite complicated– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the unique backend can result in some designers making mistakes varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open to the public or merely not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they currently do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the basic user. Wpengine Headquarters
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to enjoy that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a huge deal (when you surpass the knowing curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site checklists to assist repair 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.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in many cases, support will just take care of all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wpengine Headquarters
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely genuine 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 pricing to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin behavior for great reasons, but those restrictions restrict flexibility and experimentation if your website could handle 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 allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured allows for less versatility as well. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, but it’s also costly to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, 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 website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your website requires many plugins for complete functionality.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot truly do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up having to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for efficiency & not needing to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally visiting regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Wpengine Headquarters
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr 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 relatively transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed earlier that does not even consist of much of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra expenses & technical application 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 sites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are planning to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, however what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a fantastic service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to worry about hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see exactly what you think about their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more flexibility/ much better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer support.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Wpengine Headquarters