WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Recommended By WordPress
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to provide handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Host Recommended By WordPress
While they have a lot of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all vary 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 separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as a whole, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is very important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a different method. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Host Recommended By WordPress
I have actually utilized WP Engine for numerous jobs because 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), however I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies discussed. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or specialist to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 Recommended By WordPress
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, however the guideline is that the more complicated your site is, the more complicated the options to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a few basic 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 couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually extra plugins, customized style 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 install.
However a slow website doesn’t mean that you require a bigger, much better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching specific resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may just have to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to stay quickly as you grow. There are a lot of options … but either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Web Host Recommended By WordPress
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other 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 good to have that kind of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that method no matter how big or intricate the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that you are free to focus on speed factors that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, but they also supply worldwide information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Recommended By WordPress
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Recommended By WordPress
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position 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 & 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 stated, the hard feature of client 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 to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to search for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three need an investment of cash, time and competence.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site via chat.
Based on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has interacted with actually understood the great functions 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 customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of a number of issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Recommended By WordPress
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly due to the fact that their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). However they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are relatively straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a lot of security problems worldwide 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 totally free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually helped clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, laborious & a normally expensive scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Web Host Recommended By WordPress
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, dependable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both which permit more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k gos to each month on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty 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 sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly 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 monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time repairing problems.
Basically, if your time is better allocated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Host Recommended By WordPress
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first customer type seems to be WordPress developers 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 constructs the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is irritated at having to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is an essential element, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a startup site owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any prior habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly 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 Recommended By WordPress
WP Engine stands out not just on existing functions but also on developing brand-new, innovative hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented new developer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have altered significantly considering that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to integrate finest practices into execution & jobs 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous stand since they just aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some customers. I do not utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not need much of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Recommended By WordPress
All that said, here are a few of the bigger picture downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite complicated– particularly if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can cause some designers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev site available to the public or merely not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they already do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the basic user. Web Host Recommended By WordPress
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to see that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a big offer (when you get past the knowing curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of site checklists to help troubleshoot 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 in most cases, support will just take care of everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter 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 are familiar. Web Host Recommended By WordPress
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or extremely genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, but those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured permits less versatility as well. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise expensive to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, 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 website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Service. And this point goes even more if your website needs lots of plugins for complete performance.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot actually do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up needing to do an agonizing 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 on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for efficiency & not having to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the features you’re getting, you really do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically visiting frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Web Host Recommended By WordPress
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 visits 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 visits, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even consist of 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 local storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the rate. You cannot use them to spread out the cost of your plan,especially 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 a costly choice, especially compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest overall, however what is best for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a great service with a strong product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to worry about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see exactly what you consider their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more liberty/ better prices than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Web Host Recommended By WordPress