WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Best Cheap Web Host
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to provide managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Best Cheap Web Host
While they have plenty of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all vary 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 different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but 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 cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as a whole, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is essential to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a different technique. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Best Cheap Web Host
I’ve used WP Engine for numerous tasks since 2012. I don’t use them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” 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. Best Cheap Web Host
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, however the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more complex the services to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically additional plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a slow site does not indicate that you need a larger, better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to stay quickly as you grow. There are lots of solutions … but either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and determine the exact chokepoint to get your site moving. Best Cheap Web Host
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to start loading the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right from package, and have it remain that method no matter how big or complex 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 may get with other services because you are complimentary to concentrate on speed factors that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, but they also provide global data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Best Cheap Web Host
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Best Cheap Web Host
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my 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 since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough feature of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never 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 deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I prefer to try to find gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three need a financial investment of money, time and expertise.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site via chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually interacted with in fact understood the great functions of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, but 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 just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Best Cheap Web Host
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support issues,especially because their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the downsides). But they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a huge community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security essentials are relatively 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have assisted customers who have been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a normally costly scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Best Cheap Web Host
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact 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, essentially as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k visits per month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing 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 designer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might 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 concerns or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time repairing concerns.
Generally, if your time is much better allocated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Best Cheap Web Host
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a fit 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 first consumer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a key element, specifically being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any prior habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. 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 type of consumer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Best Cheap Web Host
WP Engine excels not only on current functions but likewise on creating new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web development best practices have altered drastically given that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know adequate web development to incorporate finest practices into implementation & 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 fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And numerous are valid because they merely aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some consumers. I do not utilize them for this website since I do not require many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Best Cheap Web Host
All that said, here are some of the larger image drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be rather made complex– particularly if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can result in some developers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website available to the general public or just not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever describe best practice for the general user. Best Cheap Web Host
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed 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 remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a substantial offer (once you get past the learning curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website checklists to help fix all sorts of issues.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just look after everything.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Best Cheap Web Host
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or extremely real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit more to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban certain plugins & admin behavior for excellent reasons, but those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured permits less versatility too. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also pricey to pay based upon a variety of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor additional hosting expenses 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 manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Service. And this point goes even more if your site requires many plugins for full performance.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot really do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based on features.
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 look at WP Engine’s pricing based on 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 upgraded and generally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Best Cheap Web Host
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental 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 handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even include a number of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your strategy,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however what is best for you based on your objectives, budget, resources & practices.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to worry about hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more flexibility/ better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Best Cheap Web Host