WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Manager
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 managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Host Manager
While they have lots of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all differ in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as an entire, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is very important to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a different technique. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Host Manager
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various projects considering that 2012. I do not use them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer 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
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, however the guideline is that the more complicated your website is, the more complicated the solutions to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically extra plugins, customized theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
But a sluggish website does not imply that you need a larger, better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, however in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining 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 fast as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … however either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common web host. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Web Host Manager
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, too many 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 type of speed right out of package, and have it remain that way no matter how big or intricate the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are free to focus on speed factors that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an incorporated CDN, however they also supply international data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Manager
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
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a big emphasis 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 company has actually 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 difficult feature of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never understand 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 business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 need an investment of money, time and competence.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the website through chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually communicated with actually knew the great operations of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Manager
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly since their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they appear to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that although security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, 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 happens. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a great deal of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have helped clients who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & an usually expensive situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Web Host Manager
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both which enable more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k sees monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup 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 month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time repairing concerns.
Generally, if your time is much better allocated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Host Manager
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of consumers 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 procedure, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much 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 & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is an essential aspect, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer 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 finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on launching a near-complete website all at once.
They do not have any prior practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. Web Host Manager
WP Engine stands out not only on current features however also on producing brand-new, innovative hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new developer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web development best practices have altered radically since I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to integrate finest practices into execution & tasks with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has 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 fit for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous stand since they simply aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some consumers. I do not use them for this website because I do not need a lot of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Manager
All that said, here are some of the bigger photo drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be rather complicated– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can cause some developers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or simply not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they already do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the general user. Web Host Manager
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to view that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (once you get past the learning curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website lists to help troubleshoot all sorts of issues.
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 in most cases, support will simply take care of everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Host Manager
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or very genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit more to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin habits for great reasons, but those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured enables less flexibility too. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also expensive to pay based on a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to element extra hosting bills 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 manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Service. And this point goes further if your site requires numerous plugins for full functionality.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot actually do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up needing to do a painful migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for efficiency & not needing to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Web Host Manager
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the 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 standard caching) handled more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even include a number of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your strategy,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are wanting to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however exactly what is best for you based upon your goals, spending plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a solid item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to stress over hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more flexibility/ better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer service.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Web Host Manager