WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Clipper
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + functionality.
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 take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is necessary to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a various method. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Host Clipper
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different jobs given that 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current customer on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation 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 specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” 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 Clipper
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your website is, the more complicated the services to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of fundamental plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically additional plugins, customized style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
But a sluggish site does not suggest that you need a bigger, better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might just need to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to stay quick as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … however either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (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 enter into your WordPress install and recognize the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Web Host Clipper
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough data to start loading the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it stay that way no matter how big or complex the site 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 considering that you are complimentary to concentrate on speed elements that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an incorporated CDN, however they likewise offer international information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Clipper
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Clipper
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because 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 place a huge 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 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 stated, the difficult aspect of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never know if the story is since they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need an investment of money, time and proficiency.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the site through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has connected with really knew the fine functions of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (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 obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Clipper
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,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 disadvantages). However 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 whole Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security essentials 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a great deal of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully 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 take care of it for free.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted customers who have been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a typically expensive situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Web Host Clipper
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both which permit more storage & more visits (ie, generally as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k sees 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 pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but 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 pricing is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use 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 costs lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or designer time fixing concerns.
Basically, if your time is better allocated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Host Clipper
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first customer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on advancement & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic 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 irritated at having to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a key element, specifically having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd client type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s special backend and intend on releasing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They don’t have any prior routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make promises and offer support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these types of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, so many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Host Clipper
WP Engine stands out not just on present features however likewise on developing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new designer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually altered radically because I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to incorporate finest 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And lots of stand since they merely 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 customers. I don’t use them for this site since I do not need a lot of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Clipper
All that stated, here are a few of the larger picture disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be quite made complex– particularly if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the special backend can lead to some developers making errors ranging from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site available to the general public or merely not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice customers than they already do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain best practice for the general user. Web Host Clipper
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to view that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of site checklists to assist 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.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply look after it all.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Host Clipper
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods terms of reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is also 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 somewhat consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for excellent reasons, but those restrictions limit flexibility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured permits less flexibility too. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also costly to pay based on a variety of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element 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 site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Business. And this point goes further if your website needs lots of plugins for full performance.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot actually do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up needing to do a painful migration to another email 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 usually spending for efficiency & not needing to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Web Host Clipper
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even include much of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs additional costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your strategy,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are planning to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, however what is best for you based upon your goals, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide an excellent service with a solid item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies 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 problems.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see what you think of their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more liberty/ better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Web Host Clipper