WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host One
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all differ in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing 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 site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is essential to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a various method. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Host One
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various projects because 2012. I don’t use them for my primary 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 advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business mentioned. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or expert 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 care.” Here is their discount pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Web Host One
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your site is, the more intricate the options to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a few fundamental plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom-made theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish website doesn’t imply that you need a larger, better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however sometimes it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to stay quickly as you grow. There are plenty of options … but either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the exact chokepoint to get your website moving. Web Host One
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating 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 puffed up theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough information to begin packing the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right out of package, and have it remain that way no matter how big or complicated the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at much 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, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an integrated CDN, however they also supply worldwide information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host One
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host One
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard 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 due to the fact that they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I prefer to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three require a financial investment of loan, time and expertise.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing far 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 readily available everywhere on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually interacted with in fact knew the great operations of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to expertly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host One
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly since their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But they seem to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a huge neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security essentials are relatively 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 utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something takes place. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading 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 main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have assisted customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a typically expensive circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Web Host One
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same price 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 enable more storage & more visits (ie, generally as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k check outs per month on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage 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 & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & 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 charge right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time fixing problems.
Generally, if your time is better assigned far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Host One
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first client type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on development & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical growth 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 handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is an essential factor, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a startup website owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s special backend and intend on launching a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any previous habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, so many of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Host One
WP Engine stands out not only on present functions however also on producing new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out new developer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have altered drastically since I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to integrate finest practices into application & jobs with designers.
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 best suitable for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of stand since they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this website because I do not need much of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host One
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger photo disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be quite complicated– specifically if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the unique backend can lead to some developers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website open up to the public or just not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they currently do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever discuss finest practice for the basic user. Web Host One
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to watch that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a huge offer (once you get past the learning curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website checklists to assist fix 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.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of it all.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Host One
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also 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 uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for great reasons, however those restrictions limit flexibility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured enables less flexibility also. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also pricey to pay based on a variety of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to aspect additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes further if your website requires many plugins for full performance.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot actually do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another email company mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for efficiency & not needing to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based on the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally logging in often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Web Host One
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 visits 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 relatively transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned previously that does not even include a lot of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires additional costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest total, however what is best for you based upon your goals, budget, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a terrific service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to fret about hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more freedom/ much better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Web Host One