WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Host
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all vary in services supplied. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is essential to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a different method. This evaluation 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 “finest fit” for. Wpengine Host
I’ve used WP Engine for various projects given that 2012. I don’t use them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), however I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Host
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your website is, the more intricate the solutions to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text site with a few basic plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually extra plugins, customized theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish website does not indicate that you need a bigger, much better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may simply need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to remain fast as you grow. There are lots of services … however either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wpengine Host
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform since 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, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough data to start packing the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right out of package, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complex the site 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 may get with other services because you are free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, but they also supply worldwide data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Host
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Host
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a huge emphasis 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 aspect of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never know if the story is because they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to try to find access, systems, and understanding, all three require an investment of money, time and competence.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually connected with actually understood the fine workings of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Host
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,specifically due to the fact that their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). However they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security basics 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site protected is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something takes place. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a great deal of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have assisted clients who have been. It’s frustrating, laborious & an usually expensive scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wpengine Host
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. 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 a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both which allow for more storage & more visits (ie, basically as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or designer time repairing problems.
Generally, if your time is much better assigned away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wpengine Host
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on development & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic site 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 having to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is an essential factor, particularly being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd client type is a start-up site owner that has the budget and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on launching a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any previous practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make promises and provide support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are concentrated 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, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wpengine Host
WP Engine excels not only on current functions but also on creating new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new designer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually changed drastically because I started observing the market *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to integrate finest practices into execution & projects 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 fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And lots of are valid because they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some consumers. I do not utilize them for this site because I do not require much of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Host
All that stated, here are some of the bigger picture drawbacks 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. Which difference can be quite complicated– especially if you have just 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 standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the special backend can result in some developers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site available to the general public or just not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they already do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the general user. Wpengine Host
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to see that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website lists to help 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.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just look after everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wpengine Host
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or very genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit more 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 regional storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for great factors, but those restrictions restrict flexibility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured allows for less flexibility as well. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a number of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to factor additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your website requires lots of plugins for complete performance.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot really do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another email company mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for performance & not needing to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the features you’re getting, you really don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Wpengine Host
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out previously that does not even include many of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the rate. You can’t utilize them to spread out the expense of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website 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 total, however exactly what is best for you based upon your goals, budget, resources & practices.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide an excellent service with a strong product. Their rates 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 unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to worry about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more freedom/ much better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer support.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Wpengine Host