WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Net
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all differ in services provided. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored 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 competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is essential to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, generally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a various technique. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Host Net
I have actually used WP Engine for different projects since 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a current customer on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 Net
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, but the general rule is that the more complex your site is, the more complicated the options to speed become.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a few basic plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a slow site does not imply that you require a bigger, better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may just 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 assistance to stay quick as you grow. There are a lot of options … however either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Web Host Net
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated 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 quickly the server returned enough data to start packing the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right from package, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complex the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services because you are free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, however they likewise offer worldwide information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Net
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Net
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually 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 thing about consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is since they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or a cost.
I like to search for access, systems, and understanding, all three need a financial investment of cash, time and knowledge.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has communicated with really knew 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 between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after several issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Net
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically due to the fact that their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). But they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security basics are fairly straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that even though 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 secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something happens. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a great deal of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually helped customers who have actually been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a normally expensive situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Web Host Net
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning 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 gos to (ie, essentially as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time repairing problems.
Generally, if your time is better assigned far from technical concerns, 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 an expense.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Host Net
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first customer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on development & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at having to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a crucial aspect, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on launching a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any prior practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, numerous of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this review revision. Web Host Net
WP Engine excels not only on present functions however also on developing new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even general web development best practices have actually changed radically because I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to integrate finest practices into implementation & 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And numerous are valid due to the fact that they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some clients. I do not utilize them for this website because I do not require much of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Net
All that said, here are some of the larger image downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be rather made complex– particularly if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they likewise don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the unique backend can lead to some developers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open to the public or simply not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they already do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever describe finest practice for the general user. Web Host Net
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to watch that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (when you get past the knowing curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad 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.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of all of it.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Host Net
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit more to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, however those bans limit flexibility and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured enables less versatility also. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise costly to pay based upon a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want 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 an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your website needs lots of plugins for complete functionality.
The very same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t really do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up needing to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for efficiency & not having to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Web Host Net
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned previously that doesn’t even include a number of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to spread out the cost of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a pricey option, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, however what is best for you based on your objectives, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use an excellent service with a strong item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to fret about hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a fit 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 set up and see exactly what you think of their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more flexibility/ much better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client 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 a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Web Host Net