WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Digital Ocean
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to provide managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Host Digital Ocean
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has become a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all vary in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different 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 greater cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as a whole, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it’s important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, generally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a different method. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Host Digital Ocean
I have actually utilized WP Engine for numerous tasks given that 2012. I do not use them for my main sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a present client on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business discussed. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their promotion pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Web Host Digital Ocean
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, but the guideline is that the more complicated your website is, the more complex the services to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with an affordable shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally extra plugins, custom-made theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a slow site doesn’t suggest that you require a larger, better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may just need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain fast as you grow. There are plenty of options … however either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually personalized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and identify the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Web Host Digital Ocean
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, 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 packing the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right from package, and have it stay that method no matter how big or intricate the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services because you are complimentary to concentrate on speed factors that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an integrated CDN, but they likewise provide global information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Digital Ocean
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Digital Ocean
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
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 said, the hard feature of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever know if the story is due to the fact that 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 business deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I prefer to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of money, time and expertise.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the site by means of chat.
Based on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has interacted with in fact understood the fine functions of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, 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 adeptly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Digital Ocean
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support issues,specifically because their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). However they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a huge community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, 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 utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site protected 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. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a great deal of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the warranty 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 websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped clients who have been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & an usually costly circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Web Host Digital Ocean
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up strategy 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 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 monthly.
Both which allow for more storage & more sees (ie, basically as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k visits per 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 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 overall worth & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 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 entire 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 might be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time fixing problems.
Essentially, if your time is better designated away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Host Digital Ocean
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of consumers, 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 developers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated 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 likewise developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that process happen. The phone support is an essential aspect, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd client type is a start-up site owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s special backend and intend on releasing a near-complete site at one time.
They do not have any previous practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, so many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. Web Host Digital Ocean
WP Engine stands out not just on current functions but likewise on producing new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented new designer features that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even basic web development best practices have changed significantly since I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous stand because they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some clients. I don’t use them for this website because I do not require many of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Digital Ocean
All that said, here are some of the larger image drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be rather made complex– especially if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can lead to some developers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website open up to the public or just not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they currently do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the basic user. Web Host Digital Ocean
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to view that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (as soon as you surpass the learning curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of site checklists to help repair 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 they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply take care of everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Host Digital Ocean
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or really genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit more to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin behavior for excellent reasons, but those restrictions limit adaptability and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured allows for less flexibility too. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a number of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish 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 allow on a Personal or Company. And this point goes even more if your website needs numerous plugins for full functionality.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t actually do automatic 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 e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for efficiency & not needing to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Web Host Digital Ocean
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental 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 dependable VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even consist of a number of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires 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 jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t use them to spread out the expense of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is an expensive option, especially compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however exactly what is best for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a terrific service with a strong product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to worry about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think about their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more freedom/ much better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Web Host Digital Ocean