WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Billing
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to offer handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Host Billing
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all vary 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 separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it’s important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, usually with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a different technique. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Host Billing
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous projects since 2012. I don’t use them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing 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 & opinion is based on my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” Here is their promotion pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Web Host Billing
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, however the guideline is that the more intricate your site is, the more complex the solutions to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a few 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 few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally additional plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a slow site does not suggest that you need a larger, much better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, however in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply have to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain fast as you grow. There are lots of solutions … however either you or a designer must execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a common web host. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Web Host Billing
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have such a customized 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 additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to start loading the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complicated the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are totally 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 supplies an integrated CDN, however they also provide international data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Billing
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
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult thing about client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never know 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 evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I want to search for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need a financial investment of loan, time and knowledge.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site via 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 understood the fine operations of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after several problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Billing
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly due to the fact that their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the downsides). But they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security basics 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 business arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally 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 happens. 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 also works closely with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have helped clients who have been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & an usually costly circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Web Host Billing
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 per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both which permit more storage & more gos to (ie, generally as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup 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 entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or designer time fixing concerns.
Basically, if your time is much better allocated far 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 rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Host Billing
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a fit 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 client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on development & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a key aspect, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s special backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any prior habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this review revision. Web Host Billing
WP Engine stands out not only on present features but likewise on producing new, innovative hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented new developer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web advancement best practices have changed significantly since I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to integrate finest practices into application & tasks with developers.
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 best suitable for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And lots of are valid because they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some customers. I don’t utilize them for this site since I do not require a lot of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Billing
All that said, here are a few of the larger picture disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite made complex– particularly if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the special backend can cause some developers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website available to the public or just not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they currently do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain best practice for the basic user. Web Host Billing
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, however I had to enjoy that video multiple 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 going to be a big offer (once you surpass the knowing curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of site checklists to assist troubleshoot all sorts of problems.
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 it all.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Host Billing
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or very real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin behavior for excellent factors, however those bans restrict flexibility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured allows for less flexibility also. 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 check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element 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 website on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Service. And this point goes even more if your website requires lots of plugins for full functionality.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot really do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up needing to do an unpleasant 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 on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for performance & not needing to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the features you’re getting, you truly do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Web Host Billing
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) handled more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr duration 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 quite a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out previously that does not even consist of many of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits requires extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the rate. You cannot use them to spread out the expense of your strategy,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, especially compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, however exactly what is best for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a solid item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to worry about hosting problems.
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 consider their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more liberty/ much better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer service.
And last but not least, 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 simplify things. Web Host Billing