WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Speed Test
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to provide managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wpengine Speed Test
While they have lots of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all differ in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as an entire, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is necessary to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, typically with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however 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 Speed Test
I have actually used WP Engine for various jobs since 2012. I don’t use them for my main websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. 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 practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their promo pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wpengine Speed Test
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, but the general rule is that the more complicated your site is, the more complex the options to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a few standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually additional plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish website doesn’t mean that you need a larger, better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to remain fast as you grow. There are a lot of options … however either you or a designer must execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Wpengine Speed Test
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional 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 quickly the server returned enough data to start filling the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right from the box, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or complicated the website 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 since you are free to focus 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 offers an integrated CDN, however they also provide worldwide data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Speed Test
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Speed Test
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a big 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 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 hard thing about consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never know if the story is since they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I like to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need a financial investment of cash, time and proficiency.
Based on 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 all over on the website via chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually engaged with really understood the great 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 in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after several problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Speed Test
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially due to the fact that their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But they seem 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 Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security essentials 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 notice that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, 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 website secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something happens. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a lot of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually helped clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a typically costly situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Wpengine Speed Test
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both of which enable more storage & more gos to (ie, basically as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k check outs per month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes each 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 check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or designer time fixing concerns.
Generally, if your time is better designated far from technical problems, 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 a cost.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wpengine Speed Test
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is irritated at having to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re also established 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 a crucial aspect, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd client type is a start-up site owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on releasing a near-complete site at one time.
They don’t have any previous habits or customs 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 pledges and offer support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wpengine Speed Test
WP Engine excels not just on present features however also on developing new, innovative hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new developer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually altered radically because I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to incorporate finest practices into application & projects 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (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 locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some clients. I do not use them for this website because I do not need many of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Speed Test
All that stated, here are a few of the larger photo downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite made complex– specifically if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can cause some designers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website available to the public or just not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they currently do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the basic user. Wpengine Speed Test
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but 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 custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (when you get past the learning curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website lists to help repair all sorts of problems.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply take care of it all.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wpengine Speed Test
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is also connected 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 somewhat consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for good reasons, but those restrictions limit flexibility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller websites, 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 versatile and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured permits less versatility as well. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s also expensive to pay based on a variety of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to factor extra hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible 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 enable on a Personal or Company. And this point goes even more if your site requires many plugins for full functionality.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you can’t truly do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail service 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 spending for performance & not needing to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the features you’re getting, you truly do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Wpengine Speed Test
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even consist of many of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to expand the cost of your strategy,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are looking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a costly choice, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, but what is best for you based upon your goals, budget, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a terrific service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to stress over hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you think of their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more flexibility/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And finally, 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 streamline things. Wpengine Speed Test