WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Google
While they have lots of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as an entire, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it’s important to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, generally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a different approach. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Host Google
I’ve used WP Engine for different projects given that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current customer on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies discussed. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their discount 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 Google
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, however the guideline is that the more complicated your site is, the more intricate the options to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a few fundamental plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with an affordable shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically additional plugins, customized style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site does not mean that you need a larger, much better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may just need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to remain quickly as you grow. There are plenty of services … but either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have customized servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and recognize the specific chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Web Host Google
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough information to begin loading the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that way no matter how big or complicated the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are free to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, but they also provide worldwide data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Google
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Google
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of 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 & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough feature of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is due to the fact that they spoke with 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 business treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 need a financial investment of cash, time and knowledge.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all three boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the website via chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has connected with really knew the fine functions of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after several concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Google
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly since their customized 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 financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a huge community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to 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 everything off-site & ready to roll back if something takes place. Given that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a great deal of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped clients who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a normally pricey circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Web Host Google
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the 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 monthly.
Both of which permit more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k visits each month on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes on a monthly basis. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month 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 individual or designer time repairing problems.
Basically, if your time is much better designated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Host Google
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at having to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is an essential aspect, especially being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third customer 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 comfortable learning WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any prior routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, so many of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this review modification. Web Host Google
WP Engine stands out not only on present features but also on producing brand-new, innovative hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented new developer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have changed radically since I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to integrate best practices into execution & projects 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And numerous stand due to the fact that they simply aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some consumers. I do not use them for this site because I do not need a lot of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Google
All that said, here are some of the bigger photo downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be rather made complex– particularly 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. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they also don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can cause some developers making mistakes ranging from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site available to the public or simply not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they already do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the basic user. Web Host Google
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to enjoy that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (as soon as you surpass the learning curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website lists to help repair all sorts of concerns.
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 for the most parts, support will just look after everything.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Host Google
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or very genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for excellent reasons, however those bans limit flexibility and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured enables less adaptability too. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also pricey to pay based upon a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to aspect additional 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 permit on a Personal or Business. And this point goes even more if your site needs many plugins for complete performance.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot actually do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up needing to do a painful migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for efficiency & not needing to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically visiting regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Web Host Google
Many shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned previously that doesn’t even include many of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to spread out the cost of your strategy,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however what is finest for you based upon your objectives, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide an excellent service with a strong item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to worry about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a fit 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 exactly what you think about their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more freedom/ better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Web Host Google