WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Sla
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all differ in services provided. Some merely 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, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as a whole, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is necessary to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a different method. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wpengine Sla
I have actually used WP Engine for different tasks because 2012. I don’t use them for my main websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current customer on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying customer or specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” Here is their promotion pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wpengine Sla
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, however the guideline is that the more complicated your site is, the more complex the options to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text site with a few standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally additional plugins, customized theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish website does not mean that you need a larger, better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, however in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may simply have to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to stay fast as you grow. There are a lot of services … however either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually personalized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Wpengine Sla
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to begin loading the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right from package, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or complicated the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services because you are totally free to focus on speed factors that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an integrated CDN, but they likewise provide global information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Sla
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Sla
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has actually grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard thing about client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever know if the story is due to the fact that they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to search for access, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of cash, time and competence.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the website via chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has interacted with actually knew the great workings of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Sla
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly because their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe and secure 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 whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something occurs. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a great deal of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have assisted customers who have been. It’s aggravating, laborious & an usually expensive circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Wpengine Sla
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both which allow for more storage & more gos to (ie, basically as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k gos to each month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates every month & 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 monthly cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time fixing concerns.
Generally, if your time is better allocated far from technical problems, 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 an expense.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wpengine Sla
Like I said 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 types of customers, 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 designers and designers who want to focus on advancement & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that process happen. The phone support is an essential factor, especially being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd consumer 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 intend on introducing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any previous routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make promises and offer support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming 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, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this review revision. Wpengine Sla
WP Engine excels not just on existing features however also on creating brand-new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have changed significantly given that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to incorporate finest practices into application & 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And numerous are valid due to the fact that they just aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some clients. I don’t utilize them for this website since I do not need many of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Sla
All that said, here are some of the larger picture disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite complicated– especially if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they likewise don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can cause some developers making mistakes ranging from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev website available to the general public or simply not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I think they ‘d lose more novice clients than they currently do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the basic user. Wpengine Sla
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to see that video numerous 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 custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a huge offer (once you get past the learning curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website checklists 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.
Again– they have reasons that they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply take care of everything.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t need 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, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Wpengine Sla
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & 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 uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for excellent reasons, but those bans limit versatility and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured permits less versatility also. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise expensive to pay based on a variety of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element extra hosting costs 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 enable on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your website needs numerous plugins for full functionality.
The very same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot actually do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up having to do an agonizing migration to another email company mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for performance & not needing to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Wpengine Sla
Many shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental 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 reputable VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” site owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned previously that doesn’t even consist of much of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test sites, you have 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 looking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a costly choice, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however exactly what is best for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a great service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to stress over hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think about their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more flexibility/ much better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wpengine Sla