WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Hub
While they have lots of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has become a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is essential to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine 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 options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Host Hub
I have actually used WP Engine for various tasks considering that 2012. I do not use them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, effective 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 Hub
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, however the general rule is that the more intricate your site is, the more complicated the options to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
However a slow website does not indicate that you need a larger, much better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, however sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to transport a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might just have to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to stay quickly as you grow. There are lots of solutions … however either you or a developer must execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually tailored servers with very aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and determine the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Host Hub
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough information to start filling the page.
Now here is the speed test of a standard WordPress install. WP Engine not just gets solid TTFB times however keep in mind how comparable the First Byte and First Render are to the Unoptimized website.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right out of package, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or intricate the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are complimentary to concentrate on speed elements that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an integrated CDN, but they likewise provide global data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Hub
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Hub
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, handled 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:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard aspect of customer 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 point out in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to look for access, systems, and understanding, all three need a financial investment of money, time and know-how.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually connected with really knew the great workings of WordPress and has actually had the ability 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 during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after a number of concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Hub
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically since their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a huge neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared 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 problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have assisted customers who have been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a typically expensive circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Web Host Hub
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both which allow for more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k sees monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However 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 worth & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or developer time repairing problems.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Host Hub
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on development & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev constructs the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a key element, specifically having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third consumer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s special backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any prior habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, numerous of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Host Hub
WP Engine stands out not just on present features but also on developing brand-new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have altered drastically because I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web advancement to incorporate finest practices into implementation & tasks 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And numerous stand due to the fact that they merely aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some customers. I don’t utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not need a lot of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Hub
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger image downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be rather made complex– particularly if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
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 don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can lead to some designers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev site available to the general public or just not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they already do.
Like lots of custom 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 ever discuss best practice for the general user. Web Host Hub
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to view 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 custom-made backend isn’t going to be a big deal (once you surpass the knowing curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website checklists to help troubleshoot all sorts of problems.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And most of the times, support will just take care of it all.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Host Hub
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s special 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 foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for excellent reasons, but those restrictions restrict adaptability and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For example, 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 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 way their rates is structured allows for less versatility too. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise expensive to pay based upon a number 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 need to element additional hosting costs 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 handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Company. And this point goes further if your site requires numerous plugins for full functionality.
The exact 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.
In addition, you can’t actually do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up needing to do an agonizing migration to another email company mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for efficiency & not having to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Web Host Hub
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even include a number of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires extra expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the price. You can’t use them to spread out the cost of your strategy,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a pricey option, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest total, but what is finest for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a fantastic service with a solid 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 unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to worry about hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see exactly what you consider their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more flexibility/ better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually valued their balance of instinctive 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 a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Web Host Hub