WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Speed Up WordPress Website
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to supply managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Speed Up WordPress Website
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: 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.
And after that there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses 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 site material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is very important to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a various method. This evaluation will 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 WordPress Website
I have actually used WP Engine for different jobs because 2012. I do not utilize them for my main websites today (see conclusion), however I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying client or specialist to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, effective 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 WordPress Website
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, however the guideline is that the more complicated your site is, the more complex the solutions to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text website with a few fundamental plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally additional plugins, custom theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
However a sluggish website does not mean that you require a bigger, 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 particular order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to transport 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 remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain fast as you grow. There are a lot of options … however either you or a developer should implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with very aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the exact chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Speed Up WordPress Website
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to begin packing the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it remain that way no matter how big or complex the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are complimentary to focus on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, but they likewise supply global information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Speed Up WordPress Website
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Speed Up WordPress Website
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given 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 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 actually 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 consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is because they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to look for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require a financial investment of cash, time and proficiency.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has communicated with actually knew the fine workings of WordPress and has 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 client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Speed Up WordPress Website
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially because their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials are relatively 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 2. 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 protect. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe and 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 whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something takes place. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a great deal of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have assisted customers who have been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a normally expensive circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Speed Up WordPress Website
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same cost 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 which enable more storage & more sees (ie, generally as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k sees each 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 prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes on a monthly basis. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge 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 might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time repairing problems.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Speed Up WordPress Website
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on development & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous basic website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a better host.
They’re also 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 process occur. The phone support is a crucial element, particularly being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third consumer type is a start-up site 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 unique backend and plan on introducing a near-complete site all at once.
They do not have any previous practices or customizeds 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 promises and provide support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Speed Up WordPress Website
WP Engine excels not only on present features however also on producing new, advanced hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new developer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have actually changed radically given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to incorporate finest practices into application & projects 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 very best fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And many stand since they just aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some customers. I do not use them for this site since I do not require many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Speed Up WordPress Website
All that said, here are some of the bigger picture disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be quite complicated– especially if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can lead to some developers making mistakes varying from annoying redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website available to the general public or just not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they currently do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the basic user. Speed Up WordPress Website
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to see that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (as soon as 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 thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site checklists to help repair all sorts of concerns.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply look after all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Speed Up WordPress Website
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s unique 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; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin behavior for good factors, however those restrictions limit versatility and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured permits less versatility as well. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s also expensive to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Service. And this point goes even more if your site needs many plugins for full functionality.
The very same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you can’t truly do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for efficiency & not having to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually logging in frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Speed Up WordPress Website
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) managed more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr period 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 relatively transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even include much of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to spread out the expense of your plan,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however exactly what is best for you based upon your goals, budget, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a solid item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to worry about hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see exactly 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 prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer support.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Speed Up WordPress Website