WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Local Development
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to provide handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wpengine Local Development
While they have a lot of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all vary in services provided. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as an entire, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it’s important 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 technique. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wpengine Local Development
I’ve utilized WP Engine for numerous jobs because 2012. I don’t use them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a current customer on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies pointed out. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer care.” Here is their discount 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 Local Development
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, but the general rule is that the more intricate your site is, the more intricate the services to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a few standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with an economical shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally additional plugins, customized style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
However a sluggish site does not suggest that you need a bigger, better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might just have to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to remain quickly as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … however either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and recognize the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wpengine Local Development
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to begin filling the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right from package, and have it remain that way no matter how big or complex the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that you are free to concentrate on speed elements that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, however they also offer global information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Local Development
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Local Development
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very 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 & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult aspect of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is because they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to search for access, systems, and understanding, all 3 need a financial investment of loan, time and proficiency.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the website via chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has communicated with actually understood the fine functions of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Local Development
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,specifically because their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). However they seem to know 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 suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security basics are relatively 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe 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. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a lot of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have assisted clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tedious & a normally expensive circumstance (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 Local Development
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. 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, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or developer time repairing concerns.
Generally, if your time is much better designated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wpengine Local Development
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. 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 plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous basic site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a key aspect, specifically being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a startup site owner that has the budget and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any previous habits or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, numerous of the enhancements 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 evaluation modification. Wpengine Local Development
WP Engine stands out not only on current features but also on producing brand-new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented new designer features that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have changed significantly given that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to integrate finest practices into execution & projects 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 everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous are valid since they simply aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some consumers. I do not 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 Local Development
All that stated, here are some of the larger photo drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be quite complicated– especially if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the distinct backend can result in some developers making mistakes varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open up to the public or just not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain best practice for the basic user. Wpengine Local Development
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to watch that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a huge deal (when you get past the learning curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website checklists to help troubleshoot 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 in many cases, support will simply take care of everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wpengine Local Development
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s special 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 predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for great factors, however those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured enables less flexibility too. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise expensive to pay based on a variety of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor additional hosting bills 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 allow on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your site requires many plugins for complete functionality.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t really do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up needing to do a painful migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
In either case, 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 usually spending for performance & not needing to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Wpengine Local Development
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour 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 into the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned previously that does not even include many of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits requires extra costs & technical application 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 sites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to expand the expense of your plan,especially if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are looking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is an expensive option, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, however exactly what is finest for you based on your goals, budget, resources & practices.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a great service with a strong product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to fret about hosting problems.
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 assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you think about their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more liberty/ much better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
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 streamline things. Wpengine Local Development