WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Australia Review
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to provide managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Host Australia Review
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all vary in services offered. Some merely 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 managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers 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 content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as an entire, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is necessary to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a various approach. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Host Australia Review
I’ve used WP Engine for different projects given that 2012. I don’t use them for my main websites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their promo pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Web Host Australia Review
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your website is, the more complex the options to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text website with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually extra plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
But a sluggish site does not imply that you require a larger, much better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, however sometimes it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might just have to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to stay quickly as you grow. There are lots of options … but either you or a designer must execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and determine the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Web Host Australia Review
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to begin loading the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right from package, and have it stay that method no matter how big or complicated the website 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 given that you are complimentary to focus on speed factors that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, but they also supply global data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Australia Review
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Australia Review
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult feature of client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is since they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or a cost.
I like to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need an investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has interacted with actually knew the great workings of WordPress and has actually been able 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 during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to get 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 numerous issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Australia Review
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the downsides). But they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a huge community launching 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that although security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a great deal of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & a normally pricey situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Web Host Australia Review
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both which permit more storage & more sees (ie, generally as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k gos to each month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation 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 entire regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time fixing issues.
Basically, if your time is better designated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Host Australia Review
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is an essential element, especially having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer 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 finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website at one time.
They don’t have any prior practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make promises and provide support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, numerous of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Host Australia Review
WP Engine stands out not only on existing functions but likewise on producing new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even basic web development finest practices have changed significantly since I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to incorporate best practices into execution & jobs 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 plenty of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And lots of are valid due to the fact that they just aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some clients. I don’t utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not need many of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Australia Review
All that said, here are some of the bigger picture disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be rather made complex– specifically if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they likewise do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can cause some developers making mistakes varying from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or just not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they already do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never explain best practice for the basic user. Web Host Australia Review
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to view that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a big deal (when you get past the knowing curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site lists to assist 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.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just look after everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Host Australia Review
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or extremely real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for great reasons, however those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible 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 manage all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also costly to pay based upon a variety of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to aspect extra hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Business. And this point goes even more if your website needs lots of plugins for complete performance.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you can’t really do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail service provider 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 normally paying for efficiency & 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 do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Web Host Australia Review
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even include many of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to expand the expense of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a costly option, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, but exactly what is best for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a solid product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to fret about hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more flexibility/ better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated 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 test to streamline things. Web Host Australia Review