WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Billing System
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to supply managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Host Billing System
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all vary in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that 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 install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every rival 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 conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting options.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is essential to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a various approach. This evaluation will 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 Billing System
I’ve used WP Engine for various jobs since 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a present client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or specialist to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Billing System
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, but the general rule is that the more complex your site is, the more complicated the options to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of basic plugins and a few 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 install lean. There’s usually extra plugins, customized theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a slow site does not suggest that you require a bigger, better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however often it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might just have to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to stay quickly as you grow. There are lots of solutions … however either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually personalized servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and recognize the precise chokepoint to get your site moving. Web Host Billing System
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough data to begin packing the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right out of package, and have it stay that method no matter how big or complicated the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are free to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an incorporated CDN, however they also offer international information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Billing System
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Billing System
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since 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 position a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very 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 ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough thing about customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never understand if the story is because they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I want to try to find gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the website through chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has engaged with really knew the fine workings of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Billing System
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,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 drawbacks). But they seem to know that support is core to their value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That indicates 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 upside of being open-source with a large community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials are fairly 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 utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a great deal of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely 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 free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have assisted customers who have been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a generally expensive scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Web Host Billing System
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and just up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both which allow for more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & 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 charge right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or designer time fixing problems.
Essentially, if your time is better assigned away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Host Billing System
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on advancement & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need 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 automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a key factor, specifically having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third consumer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s special backend and intend on releasing a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any prior practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and supply support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these types of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, numerous of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Host Billing System
WP Engine stands out not only on existing features but likewise on developing brand-new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new designer features that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually altered drastically considering that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand adequate 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And many are valid since they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some customers. I don’t use them for this website since I do not need a lot of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Billing System
All that stated, here are some of the larger image downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be rather complicated– specifically if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they also do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the unique backend can result in some designers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open up to the public or merely not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they already do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the general user. Web Host Billing System
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however 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 custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website checklists to help fix 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 that they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply take care of everything.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Host Billing System
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or very real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin behavior for good factors, however those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured permits less versatility too. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, however it’s also expensive to pay based upon a number of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to aspect extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Service. And this point goes further if your website requires numerous plugins for full functionality.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t actually do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up needing to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for efficiency & not having to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the functions you’re getting, you truly do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Web Host Billing System
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even consist of much of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to spread out the expense of your plan,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, especially compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, however exactly what is best for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a terrific service with a strong product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to fret about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see what you think of their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more liberty/ much better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Web Host Billing System