WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Information
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to supply managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Host Information
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name recognition and innovative functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all vary in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is very important to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, generally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a various technique. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Host Information
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different projects given that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their promo pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Web Host Information
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, but the guideline is that the more complex your site is, the more intricate the options to speed become.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally additional plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
However a sluggish website doesn’t indicate that you need a larger, better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might just need to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to remain quick as you grow. There are plenty of options … but either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have personalized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Host Information
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, a lot of 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 information to begin packing the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it stay that method no matter how big or complicated the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are totally free to focus on speed elements that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, but they likewise offer international information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Information
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Information
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has actually grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough aspect of consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never know if the story is because they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I like to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all three require a financial investment of money, time and knowledge.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting all three 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 site via chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually interacted with in fact knew the great operations of WordPress and has 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 client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to expertly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of a number of concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Information
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,especially due to the fact that their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). However they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security basics are relatively straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe 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 occurs. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a lot of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted customers who have actually been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a generally expensive situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Web Host Information
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both which enable more storage & more sees (ie, basically as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k visits each month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low expense 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 overall worth & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time fixing problems.
Essentially, if your time is better allocated far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Host Information
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first customer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on advancement & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces 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 an ongoing standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is irritated at having to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a much better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a crucial factor, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a start-up website owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on launching a near-complete site at one time.
They do not have any prior practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this review modification. Web Host Information
WP Engine stands out not just on existing functions however likewise on creating new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have altered radically since I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web advancement to integrate best practices into execution & jobs with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And many are valid since they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some clients. I don’t utilize them for this website since I do not need a number of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Information
All that said, here are some of the bigger picture downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite complicated– especially if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the unique backend can cause some designers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site available to the general public or merely not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they already do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the general user. Web Host Information
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to enjoy that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (once you surpass the learning curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site lists 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 why they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of everything.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Host Information
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or really real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit more to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban certain plugins & admin behavior for good factors, but those restrictions restrict adaptability and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured enables less versatility too. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also costly to pay based upon a variety of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element extra 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 website on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your site needs numerous plugins for complete functionality.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot really do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up having to do a painful migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending for performance & not needing to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the features you’re getting, you truly do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually logging in often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Web Host Information
Many shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) handled more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed earlier that does not even consist of a lot of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits requires additional costs & technical application 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 need to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to spread out the cost of your plan,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a pricey option, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, but exactly what is best for you based on your goals, budget, resources & habits.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a strong product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to fret about hosting issues.
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 assurance. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think of their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more flexibility/ better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer support.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Web Host Information