WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Best Web Host For Beginners
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first business to offer handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Best Web Host For Beginners
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 acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services offered. Some just 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 handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as an entire, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is very important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a various method. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Best Web Host For Beginners
I’ve utilized WP Engine for numerous projects because 2012. I do not utilize them for my main websites 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 pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” Here is their discount 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 Web Host For Beginners
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal 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 package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text website with a few fundamental plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually extra plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish website does not indicate that you need a larger, better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might just have to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to stay fast as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … but either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have customized servers with extremely aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and recognize the precise chokepoint to get your site moving. Best Web Host For Beginners
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs 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 bloated style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin loading the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right from the box, and have it stay that method no matter how big or intricate the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are totally free to focus on speed elements that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, but they also provide global information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Best Web Host For Beginners
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Best Web Host For Beginners
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a huge focus 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 actually grown & changed 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 hard thing about client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever know if the story is since they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to try to find access, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of money, time and expertise.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the website by means of chat.
Based on their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually interacted with actually understood the great operations of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of a number of concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Best Web Host For Beginners
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,especially because their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the downsides). But they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still eventually 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 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 tackle a lot of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have assisted clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a typically pricey scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Best Web Host For Beginners
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both which allow for more storage & more visits (ie, basically as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or designer time fixing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is better assigned away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Best Web Host For Beginners
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on development & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous basic website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at having to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process occur. The phone support is an essential aspect, specifically having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website at one time.
They don’t have any prior practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, so many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this review revision. Best Web Host For Beginners
WP Engine excels not just on existing functions however likewise on creating new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented new designer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even general web development finest practices have actually altered significantly considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to incorporate best practices into application & projects with developers.
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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And many stand due to the fact that they simply aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some clients. I do not use them for this site because I do not require a number of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Best Web Host For Beginners
All that said, here are some of the bigger picture drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be rather made complex– particularly if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the special backend can lead to some developers making mistakes varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open to the general public or merely not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the general user. Best Web Host For Beginners
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to see that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a substantial offer (once you surpass the knowing curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website checklists to assist 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.
Again– they have reasons that they do all this. And in many cases, support will just look after all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter 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. Best Web Host For Beginners
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for excellent reasons, but those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized websites, it does the job 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 way their pricing is structured enables less versatility as well. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise expensive to pay based on a variety of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to factor extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want 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 allow on an Individual or Service. And this point goes further if your site requires many plugins for complete functionality.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you cannot really do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up having to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for performance & not having to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Best Web Host For Beginners
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out earlier that doesn’t even include a number of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits needs extra expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your plan,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, however what is best for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a solid item. Their pricing 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 sites that do not wish to fret about hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more freedom/ much better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Best Web Host For Beginners