WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Coast To Coast
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to supply handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Host Coast To Coast
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short 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 handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as an entire, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is essential to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, usually with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a various method. 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 To Coast
I’ve used WP Engine for numerous tasks because 2012. I do not utilize them for my main websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current customer on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies discussed. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 Coast To Coast
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, however the general rule is that the more intricate your website is, the more intricate the options to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a few fundamental plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally extra plugins, custom style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish website does not indicate that you require a bigger, much better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, however often it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might just have to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain fast as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … but either you or a developer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Host Coast To Coast
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up 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 begin filling the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right from package, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or complex the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services since you are complimentary to concentrate on speed elements that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, but they also provide global data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Coast To 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 To Coast
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a big 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 company has grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough thing about consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever know if the story is because they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to try to find gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three need an investment of cash, time and know-how.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website via chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has connected with really understood the great functions 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 in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of numerous problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Coast To Coast
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the downsides). 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 entire Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However 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 neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security basics 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial 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 not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a great deal of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped customers who have been. It’s aggravating, laborious & an usually costly scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Web Host Coast To Coast
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 monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both which allow for more storage & more gos to (ie, generally as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k check outs each month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time fixing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Host Coast To Coast
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on development & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website 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 relocate to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process occur. The phone support is a crucial aspect, specifically having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a start-up website owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on launching a near-complete site simultaneously.
They do not have any previous practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once 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 customer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this review modification. Web Host Coast To Coast
WP Engine excels not just on existing functions but also on creating brand-new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new developer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web development best practices have altered drastically considering that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to integrate finest practices into execution & projects with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And many are valid due to the fact that they merely aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some consumers. I don’t use them for this website due to the fact that I do not require a lot of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Coast To Coast
All that stated, here are some of the bigger picture drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be rather made complex– particularly if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they likewise don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the special backend can result in some designers making errors ranging from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or just not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they currently do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the basic user. Web Host Coast To Coast
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to enjoy that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a substantial offer (as soon as you surpass the learning curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to discover 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 plethora of website checklists to help troubleshoot 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 in many cases, support will simply look after all of it.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Host Coast To Coast
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to 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 company has rules (or very genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for great reasons, however those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured allows for less flexibility also. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise expensive to pay based upon a variety of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor extra hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Service. And this point goes further if your website requires many plugins for full performance.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot actually do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up needing to do a painful migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for efficiency & not having to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Web Host Coast To Coast
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even consist of much of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted 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 can’t use them to expand the cost of your strategy,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 & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, but exactly what is best for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a solid product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to stress over hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think about their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more freedom/ better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Web Host Coast To Coast