WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Face
While they have lots of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, 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 brief variation: They all differ in services supplied. Some simply 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 really buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as an entire, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is necessary to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, usually with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a different method. This evaluation 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 “finest fit” for. Web Host Face
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different tasks because 2012. I do not use them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “stunning speed, powerful 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 Face
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complex your site is, the more intricate the options to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically extra plugins, customized style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site doesn’t suggest that you require a larger, better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to remain quick as you grow. There are lots of services … however either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually customized servers with extremely aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common web host. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Web Host Face
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a tailored caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up 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 bloated style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin loading the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it stay that method no matter how big or complicated the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services since you are complimentary to concentrate on speed aspects that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, but they also offer worldwide information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Face
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Face
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a huge 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 company 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 said, the difficult feature of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever know if the story is because they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I want to search for access, systems, and understanding, all 3 need a financial investment of cash, time and proficiency.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all three boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually communicated with actually knew the great operations of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (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 rep was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Face
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,especially since their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). But they seem 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 suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a very large community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals are relatively uncomplicated:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe 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. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a lot of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security firms 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 totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have helped customers who have been. It’s frustrating, tedious & a typically expensive 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 Face
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, dependable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both which permit more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & 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 entire monthly cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or developer time repairing issues.
Basically, if your time is much better allocated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Host Face
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first customer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on advancement & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous fundamental site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is an essential element, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third customer type is a startup site owner that has the budget and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any previous routines or customizeds 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 supply support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, numerous of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Host Face
WP Engine excels not only on existing functions however likewise on developing new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web advancement best practices have altered radically because I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to incorporate finest practices into application & tasks with developers.
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 very best suitable for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of are valid since they just aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some consumers. I do not use them for this website since I do not require a lot of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Face
All that said, here are some of the larger picture disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be rather made complex– especially if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can result in some developers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website open up to the general public or just not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more novice clients than they already do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the general user. Web Host Face
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to view that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a big offer (as soon as you get past the knowing curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site lists 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 most cases, support will just look after everything.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Host Face
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin behavior for great reasons, but those restrictions limit flexibility and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured allows for less flexibility as well. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible 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 enable on an Individual or Service. And this point goes even more if your site needs numerous plugins for full functionality.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you can’t really do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up having to do a painful migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In either case, 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 having to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the features you’re getting, you actually don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Web Host Face
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even consist of many of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits requires additional expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to expand the cost of your strategy,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are looking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, but exactly what is finest for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a solid product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to fret about hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at 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. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more freedom/ better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, 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 Face