WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Free
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 website home builders, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all vary in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, however 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 rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as an entire, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is essential to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a various method. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Host Free
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various jobs given that 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), however I do have a present client on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” Here is their promo pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Web Host Free
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 site is, the more intricate the services to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with an affordable shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally additional plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site doesn’t mean that you need a larger, better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, however sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply have to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain quick as you grow. There are plenty of options … but either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually personalized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the precise chokepoint to get your site moving. Web Host Free
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to start filling the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right from the box, and have it stay that way 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 even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are free to focus on speed factors that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, however they also supply global information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Free
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
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has actually grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough feature of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never understand if the story is due to the fact that they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or an expense.
I like to search for access, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of cash, time and competence.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site via chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually interacted with in fact knew the great workings of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to expertly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of several concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Free
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially since their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the downsides). But they appear to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security essentials are fairly 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 see that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something happens. Given that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a lot of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading 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 for free.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted clients who have been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a typically pricey situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Web Host Free
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and just approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, dependable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both of which permit more storage & more visits (ie, generally as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole 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 site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time fixing problems.
Essentially, if your time is much better designated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. 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 focus on their core markets. Web Host Free
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first customer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is irritated at having to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a key factor, especially being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a start-up website owner that has the budget and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website at one time.
They don’t have any prior habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of consumers, 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 improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Host Free
WP Engine excels not only on existing features however likewise on creating brand-new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new developer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have altered drastically given that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to incorporate best practices into implementation & tasks with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many stand due to the fact that they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some customers. I do not utilize them for this website since I do not need many of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Free
All that stated, here are a few of the larger picture downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be quite made complex– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can result in some developers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or merely not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner 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 extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss finest practice for the basic user. Web Host Free
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to view that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a substantial offer (when you surpass the knowing curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website lists to help repair 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 they do all this. And in many cases, support will just take care of it all.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Host Free
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise connected to 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; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or very real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for great reasons, but those bans limit flexibility and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured allows for less adaptability also. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a number of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to aspect additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want 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 enable on a Personal or Service. And this point goes even more if your website requires lots of plugins for complete performance.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot really do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not having to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you actually don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Host Free
Many shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even consist of much of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the rate. You can’t utilize them to expand the cost of your plan,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are planning to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, however what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use an excellent service with a strong product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to worry about hosting problems.
If handled 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 what you consider their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more liberty/ much better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve appreciated their balance of instinctive 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 streamline things. Web Host Free