WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host For Business
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to supply managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Host For Business
While they have lots of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses 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 + functionality.
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 conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is very important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, usually with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a different technique. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Host For Business
I have actually used WP Engine for different projects given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have an existing customer 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 business discussed. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying customer 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 “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 For Business
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, but the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more complicated the options to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a few standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically additional plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
But a slow site doesn’t mean that you require a larger, much better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, but often it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting 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 may simply have to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain quick as you grow. There are plenty of options … however either you or a designer should implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common web host. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and determine the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Web Host For Business
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra 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 rapidly the server returned enough information to start loading the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or complex the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services given that you are totally free to focus on speed elements that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, however they also supply international information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host For Business
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host For Business
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put 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 grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult thing about customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever know if the story is since they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or an expense.
I want to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all three need a financial investment of cash, time and proficiency.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the website through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has interacted with in fact knew the great functions of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after several problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host For Business
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the downsides). But they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, 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 notice that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website 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 happens. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a lot of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped clients who have been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a generally pricey circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Web Host For Business
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both of which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, essentially as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty 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 entire month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or designer time repairing problems.
Basically, if your time is better assigned far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Host For Business
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on advancement & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a crucial element, especially being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on releasing a near-complete site all at once.
They do not have any previous practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, so many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Host For Business
WP Engine stands out not just on present features however also on producing new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have changed drastically because I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know adequate web development to incorporate best practices into execution & projects 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 best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many stand because they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. 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 utilize them for this site because I do not need much of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host For Business
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger photo downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be rather complicated– specifically if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they also do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the distinct backend can result in some developers making mistakes ranging from irritating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website available to the general public or merely not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice clients than they already do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never explain best practice for the basic user. Web Host For Business
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had 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 remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a huge offer (as soon as you surpass the learning curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website 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 that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply 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 do not have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Host For Business
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for excellent reasons, however those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured permits less flexibility as well. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, 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 website on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Business. And this point goes even more if your site requires many plugins for complete performance.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot really do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up needing to do a painful migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for performance & not having to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Host For Business
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) handled more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even include a lot of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits needs extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to expand the cost of your strategy,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site 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 overall, however what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a terrific service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to worry about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see exactly what you think of their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more liberty/ much better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Web Host For Business