WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Speed Up Website Tool
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to supply handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Speed Up Website Tool
While they have lots of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting market has become a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all vary in services provided. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater rate 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 different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as a whole, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is very important to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal 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 “finest fit” for. Speed Up Website Tool
I’ve used WP Engine for numerous projects considering that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular 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 Tool
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complex your site is, the more complicated the services to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text website with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually extra plugins, custom-made style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a slow site doesn’t suggest that you require a larger, much better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to stay fast as you grow. There are a lot of services … but either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with very aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Speed Up Website Tool
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough information to start packing the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right from the box, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complex the site gets.
*Note 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 since you are totally free to concentrate 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, but they likewise supply global information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Speed Up Website Tool
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 Tool
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a big focus 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 actually 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 said, the hard feature of consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is since they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I want to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three require an investment of money, time and know-how.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the site through chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually interacted with actually knew the great operations of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of numerous concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Speed Up Website Tool
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,especially because their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the downsides). However they seem to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That implies 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. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security essentials are fairly straightforward:
- 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally 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 happens. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a lot of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually helped clients who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & a normally expensive situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Speed Up Website Tool
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, dependable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which enable more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & 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 entire monthly cost right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time fixing problems.
Generally, if your time is much better allocated away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Speed Up Website Tool
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on advancement & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing fundamental site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is an essential element, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on releasing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They do not have any previous routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make promises and provide support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, numerous of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Speed Up Website Tool
WP Engine excels not just on current functions but likewise on producing new, advanced hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new designer features that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have altered radically given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to incorporate finest practices into implementation & 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And many stand since they merely aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some consumers. I do not utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not need a lot of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Speed Up Website Tool
All that said, here are some of the bigger picture downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be quite made complex– especially if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they likewise do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can lead to some developers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website open to the public or merely not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they already do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the general user. Speed Up Website Tool
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to watch that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a huge deal (when you surpass the learning curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of site lists to help repair 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 that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just take care of all of it.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Speed Up Website Tool
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have predictable 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 specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban certain plugins & admin behavior for great factors, but those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured permits less versatility too. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send, but it’s also costly to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element extra hosting expenses 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 allow on an Individual or Business. And this point goes further if your site needs numerous plugins for complete functionality.
The same opts 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 utilize case is out.
Additionally, you can’t truly do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up having to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for efficiency & not having to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually logging in frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Speed Up Website Tool
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that does not even consist of a lot of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional 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 tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your plan,specifically 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 & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, especially compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest overall, but exactly what is best for you based on your goals, budget, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a terrific service with a strong product. Their pricing 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 unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to fret about hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think about their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more liberty/ much better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Speed Up Website Tool