WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host And Design
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to provide managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Host And Design
While they have a lot of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as an entire, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is very important to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, generally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a various technique. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Host And Design
I’ve used WP Engine for various projects considering that 2012. I don’t use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a current customer on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies discussed. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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. Web Host And Design
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your site is, the more intricate the solutions to speed become.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a few standard plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally extra plugins, custom theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a slow website doesn’t 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 effective server, but often it’s more about caching specific resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain quickly as you grow. There are lots of services … however either you or a developer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually tailored servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Host And Design
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well 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 puffed up style, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to start packing the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or complicated the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are complimentary to concentrate 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 offers an integrated CDN, however they likewise provide international data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host And Design
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host And Design
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a big 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 company 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 hard thing about customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never understand if the story is because they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to search for access, systems, and understanding, all three require an investment of cash, time and proficiency.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the website through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has engaged with in fact knew the fine functions of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host And Design
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,especially due to the fact that their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the downsides). But they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are relatively simple:
- 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that although security on WordPress is straightforward, 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 website protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially 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 takes place. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted clients who have been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & an usually expensive circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Web Host And Design
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both which allow for more storage & more sees (ie, basically as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is fantastic.
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 monthly fee right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee 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 could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or developer time fixing problems.
Basically, if your time is better assigned away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Host And Design
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first customer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on development & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at having to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a crucial element, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on launching a near-complete website all at once.
They do not have any previous practices or custom-mades 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 offer support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, a lot of 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 resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this review modification. Web Host And Design
WP Engine excels not just on current functions but also on creating new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have altered radically considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to incorporate best practices into application & jobs 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous stand because they just aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some clients. I do not utilize them for this site because I do not need a lot of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host And Design
All that said, here are some of the bigger photo downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be rather made complex– particularly if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they also do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the distinct backend can result in some designers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open to the public or merely not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe best practice for the general user. Web Host And Design
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to view that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (once you get past the learning curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety 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.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just look after it all.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Host And Design
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage 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 can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for good factors, but those restrictions limit adaptability and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured permits less adaptability as well. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also costly to pay based upon a number of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to aspect additional 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 website on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Service. And this point goes further if your site needs lots of plugins for full functionality.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t truly do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up needing to do a painful migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for efficiency & not having to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the features you’re getting, you actually don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Web Host And Design
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable 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” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that doesn’t even consist of a lot of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits requires extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the cost. You can’t use them to expand the expense of your plan,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest overall, however what is finest for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to worry about hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more freedom/ much better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Web Host And Design