WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Cost Per Year
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first business to offer managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Host Cost Per Year
While they have a lot of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all differ 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 different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater price 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, however as a whole, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it’s important to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, normally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a various approach. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Host Cost Per Year
I’ve utilized WP Engine for different jobs since 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main websites today (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & 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 “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” Here is their promotion pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Web Host Cost Per Year
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, however the general rule is that the more intricate your website is, the more complicated the options to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a few standard plugins and a few 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, custom theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site does not imply that you need a larger, better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may just need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to stay quickly as you grow. There are lots of options … but either you or a designer should implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually tailored servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the exact chokepoint to get your website moving. Web Host Cost Per Year
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients 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 measures how quickly the server returned enough information to begin filling the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complicated the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services because you are complimentary to focus on speed elements that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an integrated CDN, however they also offer global information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Cost Per Year
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 Per Year
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of 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 business 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 hard feature of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is since they spoke 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 a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to search for access, systems, and understanding, all three need a financial investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the website through chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually communicated with in fact knew the great workings of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to expertly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after several issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Cost Per Year
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,especially since their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security basics are relatively 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, 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 happens. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a great deal of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have assisted customers who have been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a typically pricey circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Web Host Cost Per Year
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same cost 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 monthly.
Both of which enable more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k gos to per month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging location) 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 problems or downtime costs lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time repairing concerns.
Basically, if your time is better allocated far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal 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.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Host Cost Per Year
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on development & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the website 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 maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that process take place. The phone support is an essential element, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup website owner that has the budget and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on releasing a near-complete site all at once.
They do not have any prior habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Host Cost Per Year
WP Engine excels not only on present functions however likewise on producing new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have changed drastically given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to integrate finest practices into application & projects 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 best fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of are valid due to the fact that 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 fit for some consumers. I do not utilize them for this site since I do not need many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Cost Per Year
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger picture drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be quite made complex– especially if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can lead to some designers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev website open up to the public or simply not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they currently do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the basic user. Web Host Cost Per Year
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to view that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a huge deal (when you surpass the learning curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site lists to help fix all sorts of problems.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And most of the times, support will just look after all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Host Cost Per Year
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or extremely real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, but those bans limit flexibility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured permits less versatility too. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise expensive to pay based upon a variety of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to aspect additional 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 deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Company. And this point goes even more if your site requires many plugins for complete performance.
The 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 use case is out.
Additionally, you can’t truly do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for efficiency & not needing to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Web Host Cost Per Year
Many shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out earlier that does not even consist of many of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits requires additional costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to expand the cost of your strategy,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is an expensive option, especially compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest total, however exactly what is finest for you based on your goals, budget, resources & habits.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to stress over hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you think about their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more flexibility/ better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer support.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Web Host Cost Per Year