WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Speed Up My Website
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to supply managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Speed Up My Website
While they have a lot of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and innovative features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that 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 set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the site 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 options, however as an entire, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it’s important to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a various approach. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Speed Up My Website
I’ve used WP Engine for numerous projects given that 2012. I don’t use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies mentioned. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “stunning speed, powerful 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. Speed Up My Website
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, but the general rule is that the more complex your site is, the more intricate the options to speed become.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text site with a few standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally extra plugins, custom theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
But a slow site does not imply that you require a larger, much better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to stay quick as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … however either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have actually tailored servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and recognize the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Speed Up My Website
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs since 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 clients 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 determines how quickly the server returned enough information to start filling the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right out of package, and have it stay that way no matter how big or complicated the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that you are free to focus on speed elements that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, but they also supply global information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Speed Up My Website
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Speed Up My Website
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of 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 ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard aspect of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never know if the story is due to the fact that they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or an expense.
I like to look for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need an investment of money, time and competence.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site via chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has interacted with in fact knew the great functions of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after several issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Speed Up My Website
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,especially because their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the downsides). However they seem to know that support is core to their value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals are fairly 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website protected is still ultimately 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 happens. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a great deal of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted customers who have been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a normally pricey situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Speed Up My Website
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your very 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 plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both of which enable more storage & more check outs (ie, essentially as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is better allocated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Speed Up My Website
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first customer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to move 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 occur. The phone support is a crucial element, particularly being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a start-up site owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on introducing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They do not have any prior habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, many of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this review revision. Speed Up My Website
WP Engine stands out not just on existing features however also on developing new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new developer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually altered radically because I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know enough web development to integrate best practices into implementation & 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And lots of are valid due to the fact that they simply aren’t a suitable for everybody. 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 site because I do not need a lot of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Speed Up My Website
All that stated, here are some of the larger picture disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite complicated– specifically if you have simply enough 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 standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the unique backend can lead to some developers making errors ranging from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev website open to the public or simply not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I think they ‘d lose more novice consumers than they currently do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never explain best practice for the general user. Speed Up My Website
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to view that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a huge offer (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website 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 they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of it all.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Speed Up My Website
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or very genuine physical limits), 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 rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin behavior for good factors, but those restrictions limit adaptability and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured permits less adaptability too. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a number of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or simply want 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 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 Organisation. And this point goes further if your site needs lots of plugins for complete performance.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you can’t really do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up needing to do a painful migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for efficiency & not having to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you truly do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Speed Up My Website
Many shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even consist of many of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits requires additional costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the cost. You can’t utilize them to spread out the expense of your plan,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a costly choice, especially compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, however exactly what is best for you based on your objectives, budget, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a great service with a strong product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to worry about hosting concerns.
If managed 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 exactly what you think about their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more liberty/ much better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Speed Up My Website