WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wpengine Vs WordPress
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to supply managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Wpengine Vs WordPress
While they have a lot of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all differ in services provided. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as an entire, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is very important to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a various approach. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wpengine Vs WordPress
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various jobs since 2012. I don’t use them for my main sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 WordPress
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, but the general rule is that the more complex your website is, the more complicated the options to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a few fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally extra plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a slow site doesn’t imply that you require a larger, much better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to remain quickly as you grow. There are plenty of services … but either you or a designer should implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have actually tailored servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and determine the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Wpengine Vs WordPress
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough data to start packing the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right out of package, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complex the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services given that you are complimentary to focus on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an incorporated CDN, however they also provide global data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Wpengine Vs WordPress
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wpengine Vs WordPress
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed 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 very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard aspect of consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever know if the story is since they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss 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 try to find access, systems, and understanding, all 3 need an investment of loan, time and expertise.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually engaged with really knew the great workings of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to expertly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wpengine Vs WordPress
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support issues,specifically due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). But they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials are fairly simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that despite the fact that security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the duty 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 secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something takes place. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a great deal of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually helped clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a normally pricey situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wpengine Vs WordPress
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup 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 a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both which enable more storage & more gos to (ie, generally as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k check outs per month on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your installation 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 monthly cost right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time fixing issues.
Essentially, if your time is much better designated away from technical issues, 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 rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Wpengine Vs WordPress
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first client type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on development & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing fundamental website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need 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 automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is an essential aspect, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website at one time.
They don’t have any previous routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this review revision. Wpengine Vs WordPress
WP Engine stands out not just on current features however also on developing new, advanced hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented new developer features that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually changed drastically given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to integrate best practices into application & jobs 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And many stand due to the fact that they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this site since I do not require a lot of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wpengine Vs WordPress
All that said, here are some of the bigger picture drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be rather made complex– especially if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can lead to some developers making errors ranging from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev site available to the public or just not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice consumers than they currently do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever describe finest practice for the basic user. Wpengine Vs WordPress
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to see that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (as soon as you get past the knowing curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website checklists to help troubleshoot all sorts of concerns.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of all of it.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t 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 anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wpengine Vs WordPress
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods terms of minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or very real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin habits for good factors, however those restrictions restrict adaptability and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured allows for less adaptability also. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise expensive to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Business. And this point goes even more if your website needs numerous plugins for full performance.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you can’t really do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up having to do an uncomfortable 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 features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for efficiency & not needing to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based on the features you’re getting, you actually don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Wpengine Vs WordPress
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly deal with 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 “little” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed earlier that does not even include much of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits needs additional costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to spread out the expense of your plan,specifically if you are hitting 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 site files, WP Engine is an expensive option, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest overall, but exactly what is finest for you based upon your goals, spending plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a terrific service with a solid item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions 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 wish to fret about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see exactly what you think about their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more liberty/ better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wpengine Vs WordPress