WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Provider
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to supply handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Host Provider
While they have plenty of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting market has become a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all vary in services supplied. 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 different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as an entire, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is essential to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, typically with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a various method. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Host Provider
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous jobs since 2012. I don’t use them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 Provider
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your website is, the more complicated the solutions to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically additional plugins, customized theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
But a slow website doesn’t suggest that you need a bigger, better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific 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 heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might just need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid 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 can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and recognize the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Host Provider
They don’t even permit 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 installs still do well on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to start packing the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right from package, and have it stay that method no matter how big or complicated the website gets.
*Keep in mind 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 considering that you are complimentary to concentrate on speed elements that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an incorporated CDN, but they also supply international data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Provider
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Provider
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough thing about client support is that a lot 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 review, the important part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three need a financial investment of cash, time and competence.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the website via chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually engaged with really understood the fine 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 during my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after a number of problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Provider
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). But they seem to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a very large community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security essentials are fairly 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 utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that despite the fact that security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website protected is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something occurs. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have helped clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a generally expensive scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Web Host Provider
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and only as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact 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 monthly.
Both which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, basically as many 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 also run lots of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
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 incredible.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes each month. 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 gos to 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 do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or designer time repairing issues.
Essentially, if your time is better assigned away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Host Provider
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on development & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that process happen. The phone support is an essential factor, specifically having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup site owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s special backend and plan on launching a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any previous habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make promises and provide support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Host Provider
WP Engine excels not only on present functions however likewise on creating brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out new designer functions that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have altered drastically given that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to incorporate finest practices into execution & tasks with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous stand because they merely aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this website since I do not require many of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Provider
All that said, here are some of the bigger image drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be quite made complex– especially if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can lead to some designers making mistakes ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or merely not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice clients than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the basic user. Web Host Provider
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom 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 best IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a huge deal (when you get past the knowing curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site lists to help repair 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 they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just take care of all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to enter 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 Provider
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of minimizing & increasing complexity.
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 somewhat consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit more to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for good factors, but those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured permits less versatility also. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also expensive to pay based on a variety of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element extra 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 allow on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes further if your site requires many plugins for full functionality.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot really do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for performance & not needing to think too much 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 website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally logging in regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Host Provider
Many shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed earlier that does not even consist of much of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits needs additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to spread out the cost of your strategy,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a costly choice, especially compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however what is best for you based upon your objectives, budget, resources & practices.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a terrific service with a solid product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to worry about hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think about their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more flexibility/ better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Web Host Provider