WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Error
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to offer handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Host Error
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all differ in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as a whole, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is necessary to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, generally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a various approach. This review will take a 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 Error
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous projects considering that 2012. I do not use them for my main sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies pointed out. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, powerful 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 Error
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, but the guideline is that the more complex your site is, the more intricate the services to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text website with a couple of standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally extra plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
However a slow site does not imply that you need a bigger, much better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however often it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might just have to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to stay quickly as you grow. There are plenty of options … but either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and identify the exact chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Web Host Error
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have such a tailored caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough data to begin loading the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complex the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are totally free to focus on speed aspects that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an incorporated CDN, but they also offer global data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Error
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Error
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult aspect of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never know if the story is because they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to try to find access, systems, and knowledge, all three require a financial investment of loan, time and competence.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing much better hitting all 3 boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site via chat.
Based on their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has communicated with in fact knew the fine workings of WordPress and has actually been able 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 client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after several issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Error
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,especially because their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). However they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals 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 see that although security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally 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 occurs. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a great deal of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top 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 for free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tedious & an usually costly situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Web Host Error
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both which permit more storage & more visits (ie, generally as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup 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 regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or designer time fixing concerns.
Basically, if your time is much better allocated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. 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 focus on their core markets. Web Host Error
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops 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 customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is an essential element, particularly being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd client type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on releasing a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any previous habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of customers, 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 performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. Web Host Error
WP Engine excels not only on existing features however likewise on developing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new designer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web development finest practices have changed significantly given that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand adequate web development to integrate finest practices into execution & tasks 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And many stand since they simply aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some clients. I don’t use them for this site because I do not need a lot of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Error
All that stated, here are some of the larger picture disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be rather made complex– specifically if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they also do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the unique backend can cause some developers making errors varying from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site open to the general public or simply not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they already do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the basic user. Web Host Error
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to watch that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (once you get past the knowing curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of website lists to help 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.
Again– they have reasons that they do all this. And in most cases, support will just take care of everything.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Host Error
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods terms of lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit more to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for great reasons, but those restrictions limit versatility and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured enables less adaptability also. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a variety of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to aspect additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Business. And this point goes further if your website requires many plugins for full functionality.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you can’t truly do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up needing to do an agonizing migration to another email supplier 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 usually paying for performance & not needing to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Web Host Error
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even consist of many of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits needs extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to spread out the expense of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest overall, however what is best for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a strong item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to fret about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more freedom/ better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Web Host Error