WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Jenkinses Home
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to provide handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Host Jenkinses Home
While they have plenty of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
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 traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is necessary to understand prior to 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 however I take a different method. This review will take a 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 Jenkinses Home
I’ve utilized WP Engine for numerous tasks considering that 2012. I do not use them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies discussed. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically 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 Jenkinses Home
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your website is, the more complicated the services to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a few basic plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
But a sluggish website does not imply that you require a bigger, much better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting 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 might simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of options … however either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the precise chokepoint to get your website moving. Web Host Jenkinses Home
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a customized caching setup.
The interesting 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 clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra 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 data 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 intricate 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 complimentary to focus on speed aspects that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an integrated CDN, but they likewise offer worldwide data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Jenkinses Home
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Jenkinses Home
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (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 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 tough thing about client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is since they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to search for access, systems, and understanding, all 3 need an investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all three boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site via chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually engaged with in fact knew the fine workings of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to expertly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after a number of issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Jenkinses Home
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly because their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the downsides). But they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security fundamentals 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 utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, 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 takes place. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a lot of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security firms on code evaluations 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 never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually helped clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a typically expensive situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Web Host Jenkinses Home
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both which allow for more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & 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 cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost earnings.
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 better designated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Host Jenkinses Home
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first customer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on advancement & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing basic site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is an essential factor, specifically being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd client type is a startup website owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website at one time.
They don’t have any previous practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, so many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this review revision. Web Host Jenkinses Home
WP Engine excels not just on current functions but also on producing brand-new, innovative hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new developer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually changed significantly because I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to integrate best practices into implementation & jobs with developers.
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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And many are valid due to the fact that they simply aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some clients. I don’t utilize them for this site due to the fact that I do not require much of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Jenkinses Home
All that said, here are a few of the bigger photo drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be quite complicated– especially if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the special backend can result in some designers making mistakes ranging from irritating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev site available to the general 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 consumers 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 extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never explain best practice for the general user. Web Host Jenkinses Home
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to watch that video multiple 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 going to be a big offer (as soon as you surpass the learning curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of website checklists to assist repair 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 in most cases, support will just look after it all.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Host Jenkinses Home
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods terms of lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or very real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin habits for great reasons, but those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured enables less flexibility too. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also expensive to pay based on a variety of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to aspect extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish 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 enable on an Individual or Company. And this point goes even more if your site needs many plugins for full functionality.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t actually do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for efficiency & not needing to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Web Host Jenkinses Home
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 plan from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out earlier that doesn’t even include much of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your plan,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are looking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a costly choice, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, however exactly what is finest for you based upon your goals, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a terrific service with a solid item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to fret about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out 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. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more liberty/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer support.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Web Host Jenkinses Home