WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Vs Pantheon
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first business to supply handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wpengine Vs Pantheon
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name recognition and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire 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 offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is very important to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a various technique. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wpengine Vs Pantheon
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various jobs considering that 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a present client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular 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 Vs Pantheon
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your site is, the more intricate the solutions to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically additional plugins, custom-made style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
However a slow site doesn’t indicate that you require a bigger, much better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might simply need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to stay quickly as you grow. There are lots of services … but either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have actually tailored servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and determine the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Wpengine Vs Pantheon
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to begin loading the page.
It’s good to have that sort 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 might get with other services because you are complimentary to concentrate on speed elements that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, but they likewise provide global information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Vs Pantheon
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Vs Pantheon
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put 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 since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult feature of client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never understand if the story is since they spoke with 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 business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three require an investment of money, time and expertise.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing much better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the website through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has engaged with in fact understood the fine functions of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Vs Pantheon
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly due to the fact that their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). But they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are fairly straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically 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. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the warranty 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), but have assisted customers who have been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a generally expensive circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Wpengine Vs Pantheon
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same rate 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 monthly.
Both which permit more storage & more visits (ie, generally as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k gos to per month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes every month. 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 might be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time repairing concerns.
Basically, if your time is better assigned far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wpengine Vs Pantheon
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on advancement & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the website straight 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 manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at having to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is an essential aspect, particularly being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a startup site owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on launching a near-complete site all at once.
They don’t have any previous habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, numerous of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wpengine Vs Pantheon
WP Engine excels not only on current features however also on producing new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented new designer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have altered significantly since I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to incorporate 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And many stand because they just 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 customers. I don’t use them for this site since I do not need much of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Vs Pantheon
All that stated, here are some of the larger image disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be rather complicated– particularly if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can result in some designers making mistakes ranging from irritating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or simply not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice consumers than they currently do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever explain finest practice for the basic user. Wpengine Vs Pantheon
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to see that video numerous 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 backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (when you surpass the learning curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site lists to assist fix 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 why they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just look after it all.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wpengine Vs Pantheon
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, but those restrictions limit flexibility and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled 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 method their rates is structured allows for less versatility as well. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a number of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to factor extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes further if your site needs many plugins for complete functionality.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you can’t really do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do a painful migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for efficiency & not needing to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based on the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Wpengine Vs Pantheon
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned previously that doesn’t even consist of many of the functions you don’t 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 limitations needs extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the cost. You can’t use them to expand the cost of your plan,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, however exactly what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a great service with a strong item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to stress over hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see what you think of their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more flexibility/ better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wpengine Vs Pantheon