WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Geeks
While they have plenty of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all differ in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as a whole, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is very important to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, usually with user-generated reviews based upon 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 webhosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Host Geeks
I’ve utilized WP Engine for numerous projects since 2012. I do not utilize them for my main websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies discussed. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, effective 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 Geeks
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, but the general rule is that the more complicated your site is, the more complicated the solutions to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a couple of basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with an affordable shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
But a sluggish site does not mean that you need a larger, better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may simply need to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to stay quickly as you grow. There are a lot of options … but either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually tailored servers with very aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Host Geeks
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to start packing the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right out of the box, and have it stay 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 even 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 quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, however they likewise supply global data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Geeks
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Geeks
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & 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 hard feature of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever 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 mention in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I want to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 need an investment of loan, time and knowledge.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere 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 engaged with in fact understood the fine workings of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of numerous issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Geeks
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically since their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the downsides). However they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are relatively simple:
- 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 industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, 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. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a great deal of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading 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 for free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually helped customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a normally expensive circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Web Host Geeks
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and just approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply starting 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 check outs (ie, generally as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k check outs per month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or designer time repairing concerns.
Generally, if your time is better allocated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Host Geeks
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first customer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that process occur. The phone support is a key factor, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd client type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on releasing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any previous practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Host Geeks
WP Engine excels not only on present functions but also on developing brand-new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented new developer features that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have changed drastically given that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to incorporate best practices into implementation & jobs 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 fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous are valid due to the fact that they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some clients. I do not utilize them for this site due to the fact that I do not require a number of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Geeks
All that said, here are some of the bigger photo disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be quite made complex– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a standard 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 cause some designers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open to the public or simply not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice customers than they already do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the general user. Web Host Geeks
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to see that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal 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 deal (once you surpass the learning curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site checklists to help troubleshoot all sorts of issues.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just look after all of it.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Host Geeks
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for great reasons, but those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured permits less adaptability as well. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also pricey to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile 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 allow on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes further if your site requires lots of plugins for complete performance.
The very same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you cannot actually do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for efficiency & not needing to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the functions you’re getting, you truly do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Web Host Geeks
Many shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that does not even consist of a number of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the rate. You cannot use them to spread out the cost of your plan,specifically if you are hitting 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 choice, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, however exactly what is finest for you based on your goals, spending plan, resources & routines.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a terrific service with a solid product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to worry about hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see what you consider their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more flexibility/ better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer service.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Web Host Geeks