WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Speed Up Website Software
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to offer handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Speed Up Website Software
While they have lots of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name recognition and innovative functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all vary in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is essential to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a various technique. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Speed Up Website Software
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different jobs because 2012. I do not utilize them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their discount pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Speed Up Website Software
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, but the guideline is that the more intricate your website is, the more complicated the solutions to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a few fundamental plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
However a sluggish site does not indicate that you need a larger, better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might just need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to stay quick as you grow. There are lots of solutions … but either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with very aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and recognize the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Speed Up Website Software
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, 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 start filling the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right out of package, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or complicated the website 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 because you are complimentary to concentrate on speed elements that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, however they also supply global information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Speed Up Website Software
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 Software
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough feature of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever know if the story is because they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I prefer to look for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of loan, time and proficiency.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has connected with really knew the fine functions of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after several concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Speed Up Website Software
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,especially since their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). However they seem to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security basics are fairly uncomplicated:
- 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 commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe 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 happens. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have assisted clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & an usually expensive situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Speed Up Website Software
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and only approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which allow for more storage & more visits (ie, generally as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is fantastic.
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 charge right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time fixing concerns.
Generally, if your time is better allocated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Speed Up Website Software
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev constructs the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise 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 take place. The phone support is a key aspect, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a start-up site owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on launching a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any prior routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, so many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), 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 revision. Speed Up Website Software
WP Engine stands out not only on current features but also on developing new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web development best practices have actually altered radically considering that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web advancement to incorporate best practices into application & tasks 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And numerous are valid because they just aren’t a suitable for everyone. 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 utilize them for this website because I do not need much of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Speed Up Website Software
All that stated, here are some of the bigger picture drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be rather complicated– especially if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the distinct backend can cause some developers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev website open to the public or just not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they currently do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the basic user. Speed Up Website Software
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to view 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 really going to be a substantial offer (when you get past the learning curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website checklists to help troubleshoot 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 why they do all this. And in many cases, support will just look after it all.
However, 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 numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Speed Up Website Software
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is also related 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 rather uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, but those restrictions restrict adaptability and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open 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 expensive to pay based upon a variety of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to factor extra hosting bills 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 Organisation. And this point goes even more if your website requires lots of plugins for complete performance.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you can’t actually do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending 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 functions you’re getting, you really do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically logging in often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Speed Up Website Software
Many shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even consist of much of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your plan,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a costly choice, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest total, but what is best for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a solid product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, 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 websites that don’t want to stress over hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see what you think of their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more liberty/ much better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Speed Up Website Software