WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Jetpack
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all differ in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer 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 install 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 site material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as a whole, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is necessary to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a different technique. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wpengine Jetpack
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous jobs because 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a present client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying client.
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 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 Jetpack
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, but the guideline is that the more complex your site is, the more intricate the services to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally extra plugins, custom theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
But a slow website does not mean that you require a larger, much better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain fast as you grow. There are lots of solutions … but either you or a designer should implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with very aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and recognize the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Wpengine Jetpack
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to begin loading the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or intricate the website 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 might get with other services since you are free to focus on speed aspects that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, but they also offer global information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Jetpack
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Jetpack
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
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 lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult thing about consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is since they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or an expense.
I like to try to find access, systems, and understanding, all three need an investment of cash, time and competence.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site via chat.
Based on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has communicated with in fact understood the great operations of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Jetpack
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are fairly straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website protected is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something occurs. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have helped clients who have been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a generally pricey situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Wpengine Jetpack
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes 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 cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, basically as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee 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 might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge 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 allocated away 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 instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wpengine Jetpack
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing website owner who is irritated at having to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is an essential element, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s special backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any previous practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, numerous of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this review modification. Wpengine Jetpack
WP Engine stands out not only on present functions however likewise on producing new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented new designer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web development finest practices have altered drastically considering that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to integrate finest practices into implementation & jobs with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And many stand because they simply aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this website because I do not need a number of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Jetpack
All that said, here are some of the bigger picture disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be rather made complex– particularly if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can cause some developers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev site available to the general public or just not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice consumers than they already do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never discuss best practice for the general user. Wpengine Jetpack
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to watch that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (when you surpass the learning curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of site checklists to assist 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 why they do all this. And most of the times, support will just look after all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wpengine Jetpack
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods terms of decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or very real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for good factors, but those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured enables less adaptability too. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also expensive to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to aspect 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 site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes further if your website needs lots of plugins for complete performance.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are planning to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot actually do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up needing to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for efficiency & not needing to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a 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 of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Wpengine Jetpack
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion 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 reliable VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even include much of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to spread out the expense of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, however what is finest for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a great service with a strong product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to worry about hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see what you consider their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more flexibility/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wpengine Jetpack