WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Domain Free
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first business to provide managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Host Domain Free
While they have plenty of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief 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.
Then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as an entire, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is essential to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a different approach. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Host Domain Free
I’ve utilized WP Engine for numerous projects because 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or specialist to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Domain Free
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, but the general rule is that the more intricate your website is, the more complex the services to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text site with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually additional plugins, customized style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site does not imply that you require a bigger, much better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may just have to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to stay quickly as you grow. There are lots of solutions … however either you or a developer must implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually tailored servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and determine the exact chokepoint to get your site moving. Web Host Domain Free
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind 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 type of speed right from the box, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or complicated the website 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 may get with other services considering that you are complimentary to focus on speed elements that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, but they also offer worldwide information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Domain Free
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Domain Free
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a big emphasis 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 lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard thing about customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never 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 discuss in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I want to try to find gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 need a financial investment of loan, time and knowledge.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site via chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has communicated with actually knew the great operations of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to expertly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Domain Free
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically due to the fact that their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). But they seem to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a huge neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals are fairly uncomplicated:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that despite the fact that security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website protected is still ultimately 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 & ready to roll back if something happens. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a great deal of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have helped customers who have been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a typically expensive circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Web Host Domain Free
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both which enable more storage & more check outs (ie, essentially as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k visits per month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your installation 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 whole regular monthly charge right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or designer time repairing concerns.
Basically, if your time is much better assigned far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Host Domain Free
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. 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 lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on development & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev constructs the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a crucial aspect, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a startup website owner that has the budget and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on launching a near-complete site simultaneously.
They don’t have any prior routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make guarantees and supply support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, numerous of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. Web Host Domain Free
WP Engine stands out not just on present features but likewise on producing new, advanced hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented new developer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even basic web development best practices have changed drastically given that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to incorporate best practices into application & projects with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of are valid since they just aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some consumers. I don’t use them for this website because I do not require a number of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Domain Free
All that stated, here are some of the larger picture downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be rather made complex– specifically if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can lead to some designers making errors varying from annoying redirect loops to replicate content issues 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 fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they already do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain best practice for the basic user. Web Host Domain Free
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to see that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a huge deal (once you get past the learning curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site checklists to assist repair 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 they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply look after it all.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Host Domain Free
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or very genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for great factors, however those restrictions limit adaptability and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured allows for less flexibility too. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also pricey to pay based upon a number of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element 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 permit on an Individual or Service. And this point goes even more if your website needs lots of plugins for full performance.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot truly do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for efficiency & not needing to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the features you’re getting, you truly do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Web Host Domain Free
Many shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even consist of much of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the rate. You cannot use them to expand the expense of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, however exactly what is best for you based on your objectives, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a great service with a solid product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to fret 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 warranty. 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 existing host & desire more liberty/ better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Web Host Domain Free