WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Network
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to provide managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wpengine Network
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all differ in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the site 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 options, but as an entire, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it’s important to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, generally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a various technique. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wpengine Network
I’ve utilized WP Engine for numerous jobs given that 2012. I don’t use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies discussed. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, powerful 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 Network
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, however the guideline is that the more complex your site is, the more intricate the solutions to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site does not indicate that you require a bigger, better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, but in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might simply have to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to remain fast as you grow. There are lots of options … however either you or a developer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually customized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Wpengine Network
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients 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 information to begin filling the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right from package, and have it remain that way no matter how big or complicated the website 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 since you are free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an incorporated CDN, but they likewise provide international information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Network
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Network
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a big focus 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 ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult feature of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never understand if the story is due to the fact that they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all three need an investment of money, time and knowledge.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing far better hitting all three boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has communicated with actually knew the fine workings of WordPress and has been able 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 customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after a number of problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Network
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,especially since their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the downsides). However they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a huge community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, 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 safe is still ultimately 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 & all set to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have helped clients who have actually been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a normally pricey situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Wpengine Network
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and just up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, dependable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both which permit more storage & more visits (ie, generally as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k sees monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates each month & 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 regular monthly charge right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly 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 mention any individual or developer time fixing problems.
Essentially, if your time is much better allocated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wpengine Network
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on development & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a key element, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a start-up website owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s special backend and plan on launching a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any prior practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, so many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. Wpengine Network
WP Engine stands out not only on current features however also on developing new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new designer features that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have altered drastically considering that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to incorporate best practices into execution & tasks with developers.
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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And many stand due to the fact that they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this site since I do not need a lot of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Network
All that said, here are some of the larger picture drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be quite made complex– specifically if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the distinct backend can result in some designers making errors ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website open to the public or merely not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they currently do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe finest practice for the general user. Wpengine Network
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to view that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (once you get past the knowing curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website checklists to help fix 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 they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply take care of it all.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wpengine Network
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit more to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin behavior for excellent factors, however those restrictions limit versatility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured permits less versatility as well. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a number of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element extra 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 deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Company. And this point goes further if your website requires numerous plugins for complete performance.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t actually do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for efficiency & not needing to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based on the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Wpengine Network
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even consist of many of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits requires extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the cost. You can’t use them to expand the cost of your strategy,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a pricey option, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest overall, but what is best for you based on your goals, budget, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide an excellent service with a strong item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to stress over hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see what you consider their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more liberty/ much better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wpengine Network