WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting How To Speed Up Your Website Php
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to offer managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. How To Speed Up Your Website Php
While they have lots of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all differ in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly 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 tailored to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as an entire, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is essential to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, typically with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a different 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. How To Speed Up Your Website Php
I’ve used WP Engine for various jobs given that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, effective 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. How To Speed Up Your Website Php
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, but the guideline is that the more complicated your website is, the more intricate the solutions to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of fundamental plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
However a sluggish website doesn’t mean that you require 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, however often it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may just have to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to stay quick as you grow. There are plenty of services … however either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually tailored servers with very aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and recognize the exact chokepoint to obtain your website moving. How To Speed Up Your Website Php
They don’t even permit 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 succeed on their platform since 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, among other 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 type of speed right out of package, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or intricate the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even much 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 control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an incorporated CDN, however they also provide global information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. How To Speed Up Your Website Php
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support How To Speed Up Your Website Php
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering 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 big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has grown & changed a lot ever since. 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 a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never understand if the story is since they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I like to search for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require a financial investment of cash, time and know-how.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing far better hitting all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the website through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually connected with actually understood the great 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 client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to expertly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. How To Speed Up Your Website Php
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,specifically due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). 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 implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security basics are fairly 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 business arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t 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 everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something takes place. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a great deal of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have helped clients who have been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a generally expensive scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. How To Speed Up Your Website Php
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both of which enable more storage & more check outs (ie, basically as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k check outs each month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of little WordPress websites 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 website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 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 cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time repairing issues.
Essentially, if your time is much better designated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. How To Speed Up Your Website Php
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first customer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on development & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a key factor, specifically being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third consumer type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on releasing a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any prior practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, many of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this review revision. How To Speed Up Your Website Php
WP Engine stands out not only on existing functions however also on creating new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented new developer features that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have changed radically given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to incorporate best practices into application & projects with developers.
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 a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And numerous stand since they merely aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some customers. I don’t use them for this site due to the fact that I do not require many of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. How To Speed Up Your Website Php
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger image disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be rather complicated– especially if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the unique backend can lead to some designers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or simply not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they already do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss best practice for the basic user. How To Speed Up Your Website Php
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to see that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (when you surpass the learning curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site lists to help troubleshoot 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 why they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just look after all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter 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 recognize. How To Speed Up Your Website Php
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin behavior for excellent reasons, but those bans limit flexibility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured allows for less versatility as well. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also expensive to pay based upon a number of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to factor additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile 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 Company. And this point goes even more if your website needs numerous plugins for full performance.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot truly do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up needing to do a painful migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for efficiency & not needing to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based on the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. How To Speed Up Your Website Php
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard 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 dependable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even include many of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits needs extra expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You can’t utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a costly option, particularly 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 on your goals, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a terrific service with a solid product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to stress over hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see what you think of their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more freedom/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. How To Speed Up Your Website Php