WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Speed Up WordPress Website Without Plugin
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to offer handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Speed Up WordPress Website Without Plugin
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all differ in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as an entire, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it’s important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, typically with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a different technique. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Speed Up WordPress Website Without Plugin
I’ve utilized WP Engine for numerous jobs considering that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class client 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 Without Plugin
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your website is, the more complicated the options to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is relatively 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 an economical 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, customized style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a slow site does not indicate that you need a bigger, much better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however sometimes it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain quick as you grow. There are a lot of options … but either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and determine the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Speed Up WordPress Website Without Plugin
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have such a tailored caching setup.
The interesting 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 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 measures how quickly the server returned enough data to begin loading the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that way no matter how big or intricate the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that you are complimentary to concentrate on speed aspects that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, however they likewise provide worldwide data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Speed Up WordPress Website Without Plugin
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 Without Plugin
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a huge 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 company has grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot 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 know if the story is due to the fact that they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require a financial investment of money, time and know-how.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website through chat.
Based on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has engaged with really understood the fine operations of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Speed Up WordPress Website Without Plugin
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly because their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). However they appear to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that even though security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something occurs. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually helped clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a generally costly circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Speed Up WordPress Website Without Plugin
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, essentially as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices downside 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 pricing is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole 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 site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or designer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is much better designated far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Speed Up WordPress Website Without Plugin
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing basic site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at having to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much 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 & consumer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a key element, particularly being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd client type is a startup website owner that has the budget and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s special backend and intend on releasing a near-complete website all at once.
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 functions, consumers, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, numerous of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this review revision. Speed Up WordPress Website Without Plugin
WP Engine excels not only on present features however also on developing new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web development finest practices have actually altered significantly since I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to integrate best 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And lots of are valid due to the fact that 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 clients. I do not use them for this site due to the fact that I do not need much of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Speed Up WordPress Website Without Plugin
All that said, here are some of the bigger image downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be quite made complex– specifically if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the distinct backend can lead to some designers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open to the public or simply not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss best practice for the basic user. Speed Up WordPress Website Without Plugin
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to see that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (as soon as you get past the knowing curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website lists 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 in most cases, support will just take care of all of it.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Speed Up WordPress Website Without Plugin
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is also related 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 predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban specific plugins & admin behavior for excellent factors, however those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller 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 pricing is structured permits less versatility too. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a number of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Business. And this point goes even more if your site needs many plugins for full functionality.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you can’t really do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
Either way, 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 typically paying for performance & not having to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you truly don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Speed Up WordPress Website Without Plugin
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the exact 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 fundamental caching) handled more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even include many of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits requires additional costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your strategy,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is an expensive option, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, however exactly what is best for you based on your objectives, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to fret about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more flexibility/ better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Speed Up WordPress Website Without Plugin