WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Coast 2 Coast
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to supply managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Host Coast 2 Coast
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all vary in services provided. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is essential to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a different 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 “finest fit” for. Web Host Coast 2 Coast
I’ve used WP Engine for different projects given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies mentioned. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, powerful 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 Coast 2 Coast
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, however the guideline is that the more complicated your website is, the more intricate the services to speed become.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text site with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally additional plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
But a sluggish website does not imply that you need a bigger, much better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, but often it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply have to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of options … but either you or a developer must execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and determine the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Web Host Coast 2 Coast
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The fascinating 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 clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough information to begin loading the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right from the box, and have it remain that way no matter how big or intricate the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are free to concentrate on speed factors that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an incorporated CDN, however they likewise supply global data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Coast 2 Coast
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Coast 2 Coast
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has 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 hard thing about customer 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 spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to try to find access, systems, and understanding, all 3 require a financial investment of loan, time and knowledge.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the website via chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has engaged with in fact understood the fine operations of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of several concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Coast 2 Coast
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,especially because their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the downsides). However they appear to understand 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 implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, 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 utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe is still eventually 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 whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a great deal of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise 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 for free.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted customers who have been. It’s frustrating, tedious & a generally pricey situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Web Host Coast 2 Coast
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both which allow for more storage & more gos to (ie, basically as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or designer time fixing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is much better allocated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly 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 focus on their core markets. Web Host Coast 2 Coast
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need 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 irritated at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that process take place. The phone support is an essential element, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a start-up website owner that has the budget and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any previous practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, numerous of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Host Coast 2 Coast
WP Engine excels not only on existing functions but also on developing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even general web development best practices have actually changed radically given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to incorporate best practices into execution & projects 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And numerous are valid because they just aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some consumers. I do not use them for this website due to the fact that I do not require a number of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Coast 2 Coast
All that said, here are a few of the bigger image downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be rather complicated– especially if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can lead to some designers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open up to the public or just not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they currently do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the general user. Web Host Coast 2 Coast
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to view that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a substantial deal (as soon as you get past the learning curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of site checklists to help repair all sorts of concerns.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And in most cases, support will just take care of everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Host Coast 2 Coast
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really genuine 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 prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin behavior for good factors, but those bans restrict flexibility and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured permits less flexibility too. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a variety of visits.
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 factor extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes further if your site needs many plugins for full performance.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot really do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client 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 normally spending for efficiency & not needing to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you truly do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Host Coast 2 Coast
Many shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly handle 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 “little” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even consist of many of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional expenses & technical implementation 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 rate. You can’t utilize them to expand the cost of your strategy,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are looking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest total, but exactly what is best for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to stress over hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see what you consider their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more liberty/ much better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer support.
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 streamline things. Web Host Coast 2 Coast