WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to offer managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name recognition and innovative features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all differ in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as an entire, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is very important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, usually with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine 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 choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous tasks given that 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation 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 begin, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, however the general rule is that the more complex your site is, the more complicated the solutions to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a few fundamental plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically additional plugins, custom-made style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish website does not imply that you need a larger, much better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, however in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply have to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to remain quickly as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … however either you or a designer need to implement 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 advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing 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 bloated style, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough information to begin packing the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right out of package, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complex the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services because you are free to focus on speed factors that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, but they also offer global data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has grown & changed 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 difficult thing about client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never know if the story is since they spoke with 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 treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to search for access, systems, and knowledge, all three require an investment of cash, time and know-how.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all three boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website via chat.
Based upon their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually interacted with actually knew the fine workings of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability 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. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly due to the fact that their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). However they seem to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That means 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 benefit of being open-source with a very large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that although security on WordPress is simple, 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 safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially 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 occurs. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a lot of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually helped clients who have been. It’s aggravating, tedious & an usually costly scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same cost 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 of which allow for more storage & more check outs (ie, essentially as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k check outs per month on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or developer time repairing problems.
Essentially, if your time is better assigned away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine seems 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 appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on development & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client 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 relocate to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is an essential element, particularly being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third customer type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s special backend and intend on launching a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any prior practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, numerous of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this review revision. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
WP Engine excels not only on present functions however likewise on developing new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even general web advancement best practices have altered drastically considering that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to incorporate finest practices into implementation & 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of are valid because they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some clients. I don’t utilize them for this website because I do not need a lot of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger picture downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be rather complicated– particularly if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the unique backend can lead to some designers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website open up to the public or just not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more novice clients than they already do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the general user. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to see that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a substantial deal (when you get past the learning curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website checklists to assist repair all sorts of problems.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And most of the times, support will just take care of it all.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin behavior for great reasons, but those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured permits less adaptability also. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also pricey to pay based on a variety of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element 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 handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Service. And this point goes further if your site requires numerous plugins for complete performance.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t truly do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending for efficiency & not needing to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you truly don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out earlier that doesn’t even consist of much of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs extra expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are looking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a pricey option, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, however what is finest for you based upon your goals, budget, resources & practices.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a terrific service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to worry about hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go have 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 of their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more liberty/ better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer support.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Change Web Host Keep Domain Name