WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Edition
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to provide handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Host Edition
While they have a lot of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all vary in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as an entire, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is necessary to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a different approach. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Host Edition
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different jobs given that 2012. I don’t use them for my main sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer care.” Here is their promo 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 Edition
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your site is, the more complex the options to speed become.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a few basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with an economical shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site doesn’t indicate that you require a larger, much better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply need to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain quickly as you grow. There are lots of services … however either you or a developer must execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Host Edition
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, 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 rapidly the server returned enough data to start filling the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right from 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 back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that you are free to focus on speed elements that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, but they also provide global data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Edition
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Edition
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
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 tough feature of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever know if the story is due to the fact that they talked with 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 company deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I want to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all three require a financial investment of loan, time and knowledge.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site through chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has interacted with actually understood the fine functions of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to expertly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after a number of problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Edition
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially because their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). 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 entire Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security essentials 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 commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, 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. Given that you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a lot of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully 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 actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have assisted customers who have been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a normally pricey circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Web Host Edition
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reputable VPS (ie, your 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 just a couple dollars per month.
Both of which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, essentially as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k visits each month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of small 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 site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 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 whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might 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 site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time fixing issues.
Basically, if your time is better allocated far from technical problems, 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 instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Host Edition
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a key element, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s special backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any previous routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and supply support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Host Edition
WP Engine stands out not only on current functions however likewise on creating new, innovative hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have changed radically since I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to integrate finest practices into execution & projects with designers.
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 everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And lots of stand due to the fact that they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some customers. I don’t utilize them for this site because I do not require a number of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Edition
All that stated, here are some of the larger picture downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be quite complicated– particularly if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they likewise do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the distinct backend can cause some developers making errors ranging from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev site available to the public or simply not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they currently do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the basic user. Web Host Edition
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to see that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (once you get past the learning curve). But for the majority 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 really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website lists to assist fix all sorts of concerns.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And most of the times, support will just look after everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Host Edition
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or very genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit further to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for great factors, however those bans restrict flexibility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured allows for less versatility too. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also expensive to pay based on a variety of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to aspect extra hosting bills 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 manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Business. And this point goes even more if your site needs many plugins for complete functionality.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t really do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up needing to do a painful migration to another email company mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for efficiency & not having to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the features you’re getting, you really do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Host Edition
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned previously that does not even include much 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 limitations requires additional costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to spread out the expense of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are wanting to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is an expensive option, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest total, however exactly what is finest for you based upon your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a great service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to worry about hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more freedom/ better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Web Host Edition