WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Speed Up Website Loading
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to supply handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Speed Up Website Loading
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market 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 an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all differ in services provided. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is very important to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a different method. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Speed Up Website Loading
I have actually utilized WP Engine for numerous projects considering that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All information & viewpoint is based on 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 assure “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” 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 Loading
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your website is, the more intricate the options to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a few basic plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with an economical shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically additional plugins, custom style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
But a sluggish site does not imply that you need a larger, much better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may just need to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … however either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have tailored servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and recognize the precise chokepoint to get your site moving. Speed Up Website Loading
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough data to start packing the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that method no matter how big or intricate the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services given that you are complimentary to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, but they likewise offer international information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Speed Up Website Loading
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 Loading
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult aspect of client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone 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 mention in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to look for access, systems, and understanding, all three require an investment of money, time and proficiency.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has communicated with really knew the fine operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Speed Up Website Loading
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly since their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But they appear 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 Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very 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 utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that although security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something takes place. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have assisted customers who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tedious & an usually pricey scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Speed Up Website Loading
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both which enable more storage & more visits (ie, generally as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k check outs each month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time fixing concerns.
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 actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Speed Up Website Loading
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first client type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on development & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous fundamental site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process occur. The phone support is a key element, specifically having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd client type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on introducing a near-complete site all at once.
They don’t have any prior routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Speed Up Website Loading
WP Engine stands out not just on current functions but also on developing new, innovative hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented new developer features that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually changed significantly because I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to integrate finest practices into implementation & tasks 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 very best suitable for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous are valid due to the fact that they simply aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some clients. I don’t use them for this website 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 Loading
All that said, here are some of the larger photo downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be rather made complex– specifically if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the special backend can lead to some developers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev website available to the public or merely not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they already do.
Like lots of custom 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 discuss finest practice for the general user. Speed Up Website Loading
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to view that video several 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 custom-made backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (when you surpass the knowing curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website lists to assist fix 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 for the most parts, support will just look after all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Speed Up Website Loading
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit more to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin behavior for excellent factors, however those restrictions restrict flexibility and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured permits less adaptability also. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a number of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible 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 allow on an Individual or Company. And this point goes further if your website requires lots of plugins for full functionality.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t really do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up needing to do a painful migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for efficiency & not needing to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Speed Up Website Loading
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even include a number of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits needs extra costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably 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 rate. You cannot utilize them to spread out the expense of your plan,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are planning to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is an expensive option, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, but what is finest for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a strong product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites 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 plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see what you think of their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more flexibility/ much better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Speed Up Website Loading