WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Speed Up My Website WordPress
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to provide managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Speed Up My Website WordPress
While they have lots of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is very important to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a different approach. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Speed Up My Website WordPress
I have actually used WP Engine for various jobs considering that 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a current customer 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 companies discussed. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “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. Speed Up My Website WordPress
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, but the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more intricate the solutions to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text website with a few basic plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a slow website does not mean that you need a larger, much better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however often it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming 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 just need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain quickly as you grow. There are plenty of options … but either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually personalized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Speed Up My Website WordPress
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to start filling the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complex the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that you are totally free to focus on speed aspects that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, however they also supply global data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Speed Up My Website WordPress
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 WordPress
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has 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 said, the difficult thing about client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never understand if the story is due to the fact that they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to search for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three require a financial investment of cash, time and know-how.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing far better hitting all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the site through chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually connected with actually knew the fine operations of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of a number of issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Speed Up My Website WordPress
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support issues,especially because their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they appear to understand 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 suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials are relatively simple:
- 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 see that although security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site protected is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something occurs. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a lot of security problems 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 warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have assisted clients who have been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a typically costly scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Speed Up My Website WordPress
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, dependable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which enable more storage & more visits (ie, generally as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k check outs per month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) 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.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or designer time repairing issues.
Basically, if your time is better designated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really 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. Speed Up My Website WordPress
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t 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 procedure, the very first client type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a key element, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on introducing a near-complete site at one time.
They do not have any previous 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 guarantees and supply support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, numerous of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this review modification. Speed Up My Website WordPress
WP Engine stands out not just on present features however likewise on developing new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even basic web development best practices have altered significantly considering that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to integrate finest practices into execution & 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 very best fit for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of stand since they just aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some consumers. I don’t use them for this site due to the fact that I do not require a number of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Speed Up My Website WordPress
All that stated, here are some of the bigger image drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be rather complicated– particularly if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the special backend can cause some developers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or merely not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they already do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the basic user. Speed Up My Website WordPress
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to watch that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (when you surpass the learning curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never actually stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of site lists to help repair 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.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply take care of everything.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Speed Up My Website WordPress
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for great factors, however those restrictions restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured allows for less adaptability as well. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, but it’s also costly to pay based upon a variety of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to factor additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Business. And this point goes further if your site needs lots of plugins for full functionality.
The very same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you can’t truly do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
Either way, 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 spending for efficiency & not needing to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you truly don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Speed Up My Website WordPress
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the exact 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 basic caching) managed more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable 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 “little” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even consist of many of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits requires extra costs & technical execution 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 price. You can’t utilize them to spread out the cost of your plan,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, especially compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, however exactly what is finest for you based on your objectives, budget, resources & routines.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a terrific service with a strong product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to worry about hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. 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 freedom/ better prices than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Speed Up My Website WordPress