WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Free Domain
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to offer handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Host Free Domain
While they have plenty of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all differ in services provided. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as an entire, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is essential to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a various approach. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Host Free Domain
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various tasks considering that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a present 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 business mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class client service.” 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 Free Domain
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, but the guideline is that the more complicated your website is, the more complex the options to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a few basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with an affordable shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally extra plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a slow website doesn’t suggest that you require a bigger, better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, but often it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might just have to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to remain fast as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … but either you or a developer need to implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have actually personalized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and recognize the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Web Host Free Domain
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to start loading the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right from package, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or complicated 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 considering that you are free to focus on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, however they likewise offer international information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Free Domain
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Free Domain
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position 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 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, however you never understand if the story is due to the fact that they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to look for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three require an investment of money, time and competence.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing much better hitting all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has connected with in fact knew the great operations of WordPress and has actually 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 throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Free Domain
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support issues,especially since their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). But 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 means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are relatively 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally 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 happens. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have assisted clients who have been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a generally pricey situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Web Host Free Domain
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both which permit more storage & more visits (ie, basically as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is fantastic.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time fixing issues.
Essentially, if your time is better allocated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Host Free Domain
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at having to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a crucial factor, 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 spending plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on launching a near-complete site at one time.
They do not have any previous routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, so many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Host Free Domain
WP Engine excels not only on present functions however also on developing new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new developer features that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even basic web development best practices have actually changed radically because I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to integrate finest practices into application & jobs with designers.
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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous stand since they just aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this website because I do not need a number of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Free Domain
All that stated, here are some of the bigger image drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be rather complicated– particularly if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they likewise don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can lead to some designers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open to the public or just not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they currently do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the basic user. Web Host Free Domain
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to view that video numerous 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 really going to be a huge offer (when you surpass the learning curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of website lists to assist fix 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.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply take care of everything.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Host Free Domain
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really real physical limits), but 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 dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for good factors, but those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured enables less flexibility too. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s also costly to pay based on a variety of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to factor extra 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 website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your website requires many plugins for complete performance.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t actually do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another email service provider 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 spending for efficiency & not having to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically logging in regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Web Host Free Domain
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the 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 basic caching) handled more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that doesn’t even consist of much of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t use them to expand the expense of your plan,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, however exactly what is best for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a great service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to fret about hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more liberty/ better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer support.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Web Host Free Domain