WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Migration
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to provide handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Host Migration
While they have plenty of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is very important to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a various approach. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Host Migration
I have actually used WP Engine for various projects considering that 2012. I do not use them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing customer 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 mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or specialist to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client 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 Migration
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, however the general rule is that the more complex your site is, the more complicated the options to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text site with a couple of standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually additional plugins, customized style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish website does not suggest that you need a larger, better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may just need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to stay fast as you grow. There are lots of solutions … but either you or a designer should implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually customized servers with extremely aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and identify the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Host Migration
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to start loading the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right out of package, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or intricate 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 given that you are complimentary to concentrate on speed elements that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an integrated CDN, however they likewise provide worldwide data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Migration
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Migration
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, managed 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:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has actually grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult thing about customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never know 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 evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to search for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require a financial investment of money, time and expertise.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing much better striking all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has communicated with really knew the great workings of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to expertly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Migration
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially due to the fact that their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they seem to know that support is core to their value 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.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a huge neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security basics are relatively 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 commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything 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 best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something takes place. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have helped clients who have been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a typically costly scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Web Host Migration
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same rate 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 per month.
Both of which permit more storage & more sees (ie, generally as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire 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 site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or developer time fixing issues.
Basically, if your time is better assigned far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Host Migration
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on development & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can assure 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 intriguing tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that process take place. The phone support is a crucial element, particularly being able 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 desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s special backend and plan on releasing a near-complete site all at once.
They do not have any previous practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this review revision. Web Host Migration
WP Engine stands out not only on current functions but likewise on producing new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even basic web development finest practices have changed drastically because I started observing the market *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to integrate best practices into execution & jobs 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 suitable for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And lots of stand due to the fact that they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some customers. I do not use them for this website because I do not need a lot of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Migration
All that said, here are some of the larger photo downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be rather complicated– especially if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the distinct backend can lead to some developers making mistakes varying from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website open up to the general public or simply not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they currently do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe best practice for the general user. Web Host Migration
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to watch that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (when you get past the knowing curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website lists to assist 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 many cases, support will simply look after everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Host Migration
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit more to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for great reasons, but those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured enables less versatility also. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also expensive to pay based upon a variety of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to factor additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Business. And this point goes further if your site needs many plugins for full performance.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t really do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up needing to do an agonizing migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for efficiency & not having to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the features you’re getting, you really do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Web Host Migration
Many shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even include a number of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the cost. You can’t utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is an expensive option, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, but what is best for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a fantastic service with a solid item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to worry about hosting concerns.
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 exactly what you think of their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more freedom/ much better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Web Host Migration