WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host For Small Business
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to offer handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Host For Small Business
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all vary in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is essential to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a various approach. 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 Small Business
I have actually utilized WP Engine for numerous projects considering that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies pointed out. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “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 For Small Business
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, however the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more complicated the services to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with an affordable shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a slow site does not indicate that you require a larger, better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might just need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to remain quick as you grow. There are a lot of services … however either you or a developer should implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have personalized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the specific chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Web Host For Small Business
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers 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 determines how quickly the server returned enough data to start packing the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right from the box, and have it stay that method 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 might get with other services because you are free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an incorporated CDN, but they also supply global data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host For Small 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 Small Business
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my 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 great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult thing about consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never know if the story is because they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to search for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need an investment of money, time and proficiency.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually connected with in fact understood the fine functions of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of numerous problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host For Small Business
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly due to the fact that their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). However they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security basics 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 commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website protected is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a great deal of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have helped customers who have been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a normally expensive 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 Small Business
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both which enable more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k check outs each month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation 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 charge right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or designer time repairing problems.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned 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 rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Host For Small Business
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at having to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a crucial element, especially having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup website owner that has the budget and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any previous habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, many of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Host For Small Business
WP Engine excels not just on present features but likewise on creating brand-new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even general web advancement best practices have changed radically because I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to incorporate finest practices into application & tasks with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And many are valid because they just aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some customers. I do not use them for this site because I do not require many of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host For Small Business
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger photo drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be rather complicated– particularly if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
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 many hosting companies, they likewise don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the distinct backend can cause some designers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev site available to the public or just not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they currently do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss finest practice for the basic user. Web Host For Small Business
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to enjoy that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a huge offer (once you get past the learning curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of site lists to help troubleshoot all sorts of problems.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply look after everything.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t 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 have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Host For Small Business
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods terms of decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for excellent factors, however those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured enables less flexibility also. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also pricey to pay based on a variety of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to aspect additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Service. And this point goes even more if your site needs numerous plugins for full functionality.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are planning to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t truly do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up having 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 functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for performance & not needing to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Web Host For Small Business
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how quickly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that doesn’t even include much of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the rate. You can’t utilize them to spread out the cost of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, especially compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, however what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a solid item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to stress over hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think of their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more freedom/ much better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Web Host For Small Business