WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Low Cost
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to offer handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Host Low Cost
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has become a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all differ in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is necessary to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, generally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a various method. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Host Low Cost
I have actually used WP Engine for different projects given that 2012. I don’t use them for my main sites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, powerful 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 Low Cost
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, but the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more complex the solutions to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text site with a few fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually extra plugins, custom-made theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a slow website does not suggest that you require a bigger, much better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, however often it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying 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 big enough when you may simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain fast as you grow. There are lots of solutions … however either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with very aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the exact chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Web Host Low Cost
They don’t even enable 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 installs still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional scripts, too many 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 great to have that sort of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that way no matter how big or intricate the website gets.
*Keep in mind 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 since you are totally free to focus on speed elements that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, but they likewise provide global information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Low Cost
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Low Cost
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very 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 & altered 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 aspect of consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is due to the fact that they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the fundamental 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 recent interactions and research study, they are doing much better hitting all 3 boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually connected with actually understood the great workings of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Low Cost
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially due to the fact that their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). However they appear to know that support is core to their worth 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 suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals are fairly uncomplicated:
- 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 industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe is still ultimately 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 & prepared to roll back if something takes place. Given that you technically have an “set up” 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 leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a typically expensive scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Web Host Low Cost
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both which permit more storage & more sees (ie, basically as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k check outs each month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but 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 pricing is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes every month. 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 entire monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or developer time repairing concerns.
Basically, if your time is much better allocated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Host Low Cost
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the site straight 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 handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a crucial aspect, especially having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third customer type is a startup site 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 unique backend and plan on launching a near-complete site all at once.
They do not have any previous habits or custom-mades 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 supply support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Host Low Cost
WP Engine stands out not only on current features however also on creating brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out new developer functions that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even general web advancement best practices have actually altered significantly considering that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know adequate web development to incorporate best practices into application & projects 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And numerous stand since they simply aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some clients. I don’t use them for this site because I do not need much of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Low Cost
All that said, here are a few of the bigger photo disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be rather complicated– especially if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can cause some designers making mistakes varying from annoying redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or simply not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more novice clients than they already do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain best practice for the basic user. Web Host Low Cost
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to see that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a huge deal (once you surpass the knowing curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site checklists to help 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.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply look after all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Host Low Cost
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit further to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for good reasons, but those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured permits less versatility also. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise costly to pay based on a variety of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to aspect extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Business. And this point goes even more if your site requires numerous plugins for complete performance.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you can’t actually do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another email company mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for efficiency & not needing to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based on the features you’re getting, you truly do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually visiting regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Host Low Cost
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour period 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 relatively transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out earlier that does not even include a number of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs extra expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the rate. You can’t use them to expand the cost of your plan,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, especially compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest total, but what is best for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide 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” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to stress over hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see what you think of their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more flexibility/ better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive client service.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Web Host Low Cost