WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Speed Up Website Iis
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to offer handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Speed Up Website Iis
While they have a lot of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name recognition and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has actually become 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 supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as a whole, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is essential to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, usually with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but 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 Iis
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different projects given that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a current client on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer 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 Website Iis
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, but the guideline is that the more intricate your website is, the more intricate the solutions to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text site with a few basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with an inexpensive shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually extra plugins, customized style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
However a sluggish site 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 simple as getting a more effective server, however in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to remain fast as you grow. There are lots of services … however either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have tailored servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and recognize the precise chokepoint to get your site moving. Speed Up Website Iis
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have such a tailored caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough data to begin packing the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right from package, and have it remain that method no matter how big or intricate the website gets.
*Note 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 since you are free to focus on speed elements that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, however they likewise provide global data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Speed Up Website Iis
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 Iis
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult feature of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is due to the fact that they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to look for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three require an investment of cash, time and knowledge.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all three boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site via chat.
Based on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has engaged with in fact understood the great workings of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of numerous problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Speed Up Website Iis
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially because their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the downsides). However they seem to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, 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 utilize 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 uncomplicated, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something takes place. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a great deal of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & an usually pricey situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Speed Up Website Iis
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning 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 have actually run websites that have actually had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes every 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 visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or developer time fixing problems.
Basically, if your time is much better designated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Speed Up Website Iis
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first customer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at having to deal with technical growth 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 spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process occur. The phone support is a crucial aspect, especially being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third consumer type is a startup website owner that has the budget and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on releasing a near-complete website all at once.
They do not have any previous practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, numerous of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Speed Up Website Iis
WP Engine excels not only on existing features but also on creating brand-new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have actually changed radically since I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to incorporate finest practices into execution & jobs with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And lots of stand due to the fact that they just aren’t a fit for everyone. 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 website because I do not require many of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Speed Up Website Iis
All that said, here are some of the larger image disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be rather made complex– particularly if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, 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 frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open up to the public or simply not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they currently do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the basic user. Speed Up Website Iis
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to see that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a big deal (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website checklists to assist fix all sorts of problems.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply look after it all.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Speed Up Website Iis
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit more to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for great reasons, however those restrictions limit adaptability and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured permits less versatility also. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also pricey to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor extra 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 website on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Business. And this point goes further if your website needs many plugins for complete functionality.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you cannot actually do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up having to do a painful migration to another email company mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for performance & not needing to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the features you’re getting, you really don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Speed Up Website Iis
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out earlier that doesn’t even consist of much of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits needs additional costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You can’t utilize them to spread out the cost of your plan,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are wanting to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a costly option, especially compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest overall, however what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a fantastic service with a strong product. Their rates 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 do not wish to worry about hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see what you consider their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more liberty/ much better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer service.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Speed Up Website Iis