WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Agents New York
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to offer managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Host Agents New York
While they have lots 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 recognition and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short 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 separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as an entire, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is essential to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a different approach. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Host Agents New York
I’ve used WP Engine for different jobs since 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present 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 companies discussed. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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. Web Host Agents New York
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your website is, the more complex the options to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a couple of standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally additional plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
But a sluggish website doesn’t suggest that you need a bigger, better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to remain quick as you grow. There are a lot of services … but either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have customized servers with very aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the exact chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Web Host Agents New York
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a customized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to begin loading the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or complicated the website gets.
*Keep in mind 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 might get with other services considering that you are totally free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, but they also offer global information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Agents New York
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Agents New York
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among 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 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 so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever know if the story is since they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require an investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over 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 client has connected with actually knew the great workings of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Agents New York
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That implies 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. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a very large neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals 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 responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Given that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a great deal 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 warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have assisted clients who have been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & a generally pricey situation (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. Web Host Agents New York
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, basically as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k visits per month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots 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 thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & 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 whole month-to-month fee right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or designer time fixing problems.
Generally, if your time is better designated away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Host Agents New York
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget 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 key factor, specifically being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a startup site owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on releasing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They don’t 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 supply support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. Web Host Agents New York
WP Engine stands out not only on present functions but also on developing brand-new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented new developer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web development finest practices have changed radically since I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand adequate web development to integrate finest practices into execution & jobs 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very 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 stand since they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not require much of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Agents New York
All that stated, here are a few of the larger image disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be rather complicated– especially if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the special backend can lead to some designers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site open to the public or merely not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they already do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever explain finest practice for the basic user. Web Host Agents New York
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to see that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a substantial offer (once you get past the knowing curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of site checklists to help repair all sorts of issues.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply look after everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Host Agents New York
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin behavior for excellent reasons, but those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured allows for less adaptability as well. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also costly to pay based upon a variety of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to factor additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want 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 permit on an Individual or Service. And this point goes even more if your site needs numerous plugins for full functionality.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t really do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for efficiency & not having to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Web Host Agents New York
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard 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 trustworthy VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” site owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed earlier that does not even consist of a lot of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly 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 price. You can’t utilize them to expand the cost of your plan,especially if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, however exactly what is finest for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a fantastic service with a strong item. Their pricing 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 unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to stress over hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at 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 of their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more liberty/ much better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Web Host Agents New York