WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Life
While they have a lot of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has 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 supplied. 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 managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is necessary to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a various technique. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Host Life
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous jobs given that 2012. I don’t use them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a present client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their promotion 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 Life
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your site is, the more intricate the options to speed become.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text site with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually extra plugins, custom theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
However a slow site doesn’t mean that you need a bigger, much better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may simply have to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … but either you or a designer should implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the exact chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Web Host Life
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional 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 loading the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right from package, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complicated the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services since you are totally free to focus on speed elements that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an incorporated CDN, however they also offer global data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Life
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Life
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard thing about customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever know if the story is because they spoke 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 company deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to try to find access, systems, and understanding, all 3 need an investment of cash, time and competence.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing much better hitting 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 readily available all over on the site via chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually connected with actually understood the great functions 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 customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after several concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Life
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly due to the fact that their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). However 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 Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security basics are fairly 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 industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site protected is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, 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 takes place. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have helped clients who have been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a normally expensive circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Web Host Life
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, dependable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting out 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 sees (ie, essentially as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is fantastic.
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 regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or designer time repairing issues.
Basically, if your time is much better designated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Host Life
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on development & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a crucial aspect, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd client type is a start-up site owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on launching a near-complete site at one time.
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 functions, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, many of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Host Life
WP Engine stands out not only on present functions but likewise on producing brand-new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new designer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even general web development finest practices have actually altered significantly since I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to integrate best practices into application & tasks 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And lots of stand since they just aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some customers. I do not use them for this website since I do not need many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Life
All that said, here are a few of the bigger picture drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be rather complicated– particularly if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the special backend can cause some designers making errors varying from annoying redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open to the public or merely not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they already do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain best practice for the general user. Web Host Life
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to watch that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (as soon as you get past the knowing curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website checklists to help fix all sorts of concerns.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply take care of it all.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Host Life
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for excellent factors, but those restrictions restrict flexibility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured enables less flexibility also. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s also expensive to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element additional hosting costs 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 Service. And this point goes further if your website needs many plugins for complete performance.
The very same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you can’t truly do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for efficiency & not needing to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically logging in regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Web Host Life
Many shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr 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 check outs, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even consist of many of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is an expensive option, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, but what is best for you based on your goals, spending plan, resources & routines.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to worry about hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more liberty/ much better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Web Host Life