WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Is
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the site 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 standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is necessary to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a different method. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Host Is
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various projects given that 2012. I do not use them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a current client on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying client 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 guarantee “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Is
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your website is, the more intricate the solutions to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text website with a couple of basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally additional plugins, custom theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
However a slow website doesn’t indicate that you require a bigger, better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching specific resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might simply need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to remain quick as you grow. There are a lot of options … but either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have customized servers with very aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the precise chokepoint to get your website moving. Web Host Is
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up 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 style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly 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 obsessed 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, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, however they also supply worldwide data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Is
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Is
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of 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 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 difficult feature of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody 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 evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I want to look for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of cash, time and know-how.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all 3 boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has connected with in fact understood the fine workings of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after a number of problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Is
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support issues,specifically since their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large neighborhood launching updates & testing 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 business arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that even though security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility 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 & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something happens. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a lot of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped customers who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & an usually expensive situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Web Host Is
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more check outs (ie, basically as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
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 amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or developer time fixing problems.
Essentially, if your time is much better allocated far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an 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 Is
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first client type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually 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 handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a crucial element, especially having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a startup website owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s special backend and intend on introducing a near-complete site all at once.
They do not have any prior habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these types of consumers, 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 performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Host Is
WP Engine excels not just on existing features but likewise on creating brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented new designer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web development best practices have actually altered drastically given that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web advancement to integrate best practices into execution & 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 best fit for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous stand due to the fact that they simply aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some clients. I don’t utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not require a number of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Is
All that stated, here are some of the bigger image disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite made complex– especially if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the distinct backend can result in some designers making errors ranging from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev website available to the public or just not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they already do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever explain best practice for the general user. Web Host Is
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to watch that video multiple 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 going to be a big offer (once you get past the learning curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of site lists 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.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply look after everything.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Host Is
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s special 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; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit more to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for good factors, but those restrictions limit flexibility and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured allows for less adaptability too. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also costly to pay based on a number 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 website, you’ll have to aspect additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your site needs many plugins for full functionality.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot truly do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for efficiency & not needing to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you truly do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Web Host Is
Many shared hosting servers can manage 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 fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even consist of a number of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are looking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, especially compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, however what is best for you based on your goals, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a terrific service with a solid product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to worry about hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more flexibility/ much better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Web Host Is