WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Cost Comparison
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to provide handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Host Cost Comparison
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all vary in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as a whole, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it’s important to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a various technique. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Host Cost Comparison
I have actually used WP Engine for different tasks because 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), however I do have a present client on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class client service.” 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 Cost Comparison
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, however the general rule is that the more intricate your site is, the more intricate the services to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a few standard plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with an inexpensive shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally extra plugins, custom style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish website does not indicate that you need a bigger, better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may 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 quickly as you grow. There are plenty of options … however either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and identify the precise chokepoint to get your site moving. Web Host Cost Comparison
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough information to start loading the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right out of package, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or intricate the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are complimentary to concentrate on speed aspects that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, but they likewise offer global information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Cost Comparison
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Cost Comparison
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a huge focus 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 & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult aspect of client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never understand if the story is due to the fact that they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to try to find access, systems, and knowledge, all three need an investment of loan, time and competence.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all 3 boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the website through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has interacted with in fact knew the great operations of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of numerous concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Cost Comparison
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,especially due to the fact that their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). However they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is 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 own WordPress set up, the security essentials are fairly straightforward:
- 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a great deal of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security firms 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 free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have helped clients who have been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a typically costly scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Web Host Cost Comparison
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and just up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both which allow for more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k visits each month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes on a monthly basis. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly cost 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 monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or designer time fixing concerns.
Generally, if your time is much better allocated away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Host Cost Comparison
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on development & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a crucial factor, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s special backend and plan on introducing a near-complete site simultaneously.
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 features, clients, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this review modification. Web Host Cost Comparison
WP Engine stands out not just on current functions however also on developing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new designer features that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually changed drastically considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web advancement to incorporate finest practices into application & jobs 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 best suitable for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And lots of are valid due to the fact that they simply aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some consumers. I do not use them for this site since I do not need a number of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Cost Comparison
All that stated, here are some of the larger picture downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be rather complicated– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the unique backend can result in some designers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open up to the general public or merely not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they already do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the basic user. Web Host Cost Comparison
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to see 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 custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a huge offer (as soon as you surpass the learning curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website checklists to help troubleshoot all sorts of issues.
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 why they do all this. And in many cases, support will just look after everything.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Host Cost Comparison
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s special 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; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or very real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for excellent reasons, however those bans limit flexibility and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured allows for less flexibility also. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a number of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Service. And this point goes further if your site needs many plugins for complete performance.
The very same goes 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 use case is out.
Additionally, you can’t really do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up having to do a painful migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not needing to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Host Cost Comparison
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) managed more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour period 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 gos to, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out earlier that doesn’t even consist of much of the features you do not 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 limitations requires extra costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted 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 expand the cost of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a costly option, especially compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest overall, but what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a great service with a strong product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to worry about hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see what you consider their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more liberty/ better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Web Host Cost Comparison