WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Speed Up Website Dns
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first business to offer handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Speed Up Website Dns
While they have a lot of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all differ in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as an entire, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is essential to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, usually with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a various approach. This review 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 Website Dns
I have actually used WP Engine for different tasks considering that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” Here is their promo 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 Website Dns
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, but the guideline is that the more intricate your site is, the more complicated the solutions to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally extra plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site doesn’t mean that you need a bigger, better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, however in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may just need to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain fast as you grow. There are lots of options … but either you or a developer should implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually personalized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and determine the exact chokepoint to get your site moving. Speed Up Website Dns
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating 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 one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin filling the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right from the box, and have it remain that method no matter how big or complex the site gets.
*Keep in mind 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 may get with other services given that you are free 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 integrated CDN, but they also supply global information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Speed Up Website Dns
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Speed Up Website Dns
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among 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 actually 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 tough thing about client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never know if the story is because they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to search for access, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the website through chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually connected with actually understood the great functions of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to expertly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Speed Up Website Dns
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly since their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the downsides). But they appear to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “set up” 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 leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted clients who have actually been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a normally costly circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Speed Up Website Dns
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and only as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both which enable more storage & more gos to (ie, generally as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes every 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 cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or designer time repairing issues.
Basically, if your time is much better allocated away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Speed Up Website Dns
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. 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 a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at having to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a crucial aspect, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a startup website owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website at one time.
They don’t have any previous practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, a lot of 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, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Speed Up Website Dns
WP Engine excels not only on existing functions but also on creating new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new designer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually altered significantly considering that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know enough web development to incorporate best practices into application & projects with designers.
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 complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of stand since they merely aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some consumers. I don’t use them for this site because I do not require a number of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Speed Up Website Dns
All that said, here are some of the larger picture drawbacks 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. Which difference can be quite 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 absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the distinct backend can result in some designers making errors ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev site available to the general public or just not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they already do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the basic user. Speed Up Website Dns
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to see 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 custom-made backend isn’t going to be a substantial offer (once you get past the knowing curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of website checklists 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.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply take care of all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Speed Up Website Dns
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for great reasons, however those restrictions restrict flexibility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured allows for less flexibility also. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise expensive to pay based upon a number of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Service. And this point goes further if your site requires many plugins for full performance.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot truly do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up having to do an agonizing migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for performance & not having to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Speed Up Website Dns
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) handled more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even include a number of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits needs additional costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are wanting to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, especially compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest total, but what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget, resources & routines.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a fantastic service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to stress over hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a fit 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 set up and see what you think about their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more liberty/ much better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Speed Up Website Dns