WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Manager Administration Guide Pdf
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to supply handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Host Manager Administration Guide Pdf
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services supplied. 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 managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as a whole, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is necessary to understand 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 fine but I take a various approach. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Host Manager Administration Guide Pdf
I have actually utilized WP Engine for numerous projects considering that 2012. I do not use them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a present client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their promo pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Web Host Manager Administration Guide Pdf
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complex your website is, the more complicated the options to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually additional plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
But a slow website doesn’t mean that you need a bigger, much better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, however in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply have to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain quickly as you grow. There are plenty of services … however either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually customized servers with extremely aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Web Host Manager Administration Guide Pdf
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating 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 customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to begin filling the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or complicated 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 may get with other services given that you are complimentary to focus on speed factors that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, but they also supply worldwide data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Manager Administration Guide Pdf
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Manager Administration Guide Pdf
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among 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 business 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 hard thing about consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never know if the story is due to the fact that they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to look for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require a financial investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has communicated with actually understood the great workings of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Manager Administration Guide Pdf
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially since their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). However 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 whole Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals are fairly simple:
- 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something takes place. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a great deal of security problems 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 free of charge.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have assisted customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & a normally pricey situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Web Host Manager Administration Guide Pdf
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both which allow for more storage & more visits (ie, basically as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k sees monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is fantastic.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes on a monthly basis. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee 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 whole monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time repairing problems.
Generally, if your time is much better assigned far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an 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 Manager Administration Guide Pdf
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on development & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process take place. The phone support is an essential factor, especially having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a start-up website owner that has the spending 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 website at one time.
They do not have any previous routines or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, so many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this review revision. Web Host Manager Administration Guide Pdf
WP Engine excels not only on existing features but likewise on producing brand-new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out new designer features that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even general web development best practices have changed drastically given that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to integrate best practices into implementation & 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 very best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And lots of stand due to the fact that they just 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 do not use them for this website since I do not need a number of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Manager Administration Guide Pdf
All that said, here are some of the larger picture downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite made complex– especially if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they also don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can result in some developers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website open to the general public or just not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they already do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain best practice for the general user. Web Host Manager Administration Guide Pdf
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to view that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a substantial offer (once you surpass the knowing curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website checklists to assist repair 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.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And most of the times, support will just look after everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Host Manager Administration Guide Pdf
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin behavior for good factors, however those restrictions limit adaptability and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For example, 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 necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured allows for less adaptability also. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but 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 simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to aspect extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish 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 permit on an Individual or Company. 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 looking to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you can’t actually do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not having to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically visiting frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Web Host Manager Administration Guide Pdf
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with 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 handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even consist of a number 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 regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are looking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, especially compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest total, but what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a great service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to worry about hosting concerns.
If managed 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 exactly what you think of their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more liberty/ better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Web Host Manager Administration Guide Pdf