WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Review Comparison
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to provide managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Host Review Comparison
While they have plenty 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 acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: 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.
And after that there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is very important to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, normally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a various technique. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Host Review Comparison
I have actually used WP Engine for various tasks because 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies discussed. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying customer or specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer service.” 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 Review Comparison
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 complicated the services to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with an economical shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally extra plugins, customized style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a slow site does not suggest that you require a larger, much better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge 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 needs assistance to remain quick as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … but either you or a designer should implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually tailored servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and recognize the precise chokepoint to get your site moving. Web Host Review Comparison
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to begin loading the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or complicated the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are totally free to concentrate on speed factors that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an integrated CDN, but they likewise provide global information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Review Comparison
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Review Comparison
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among 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 actually grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough feature of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is because they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to search for access, systems, and understanding, all 3 need a financial investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing far better hitting all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the website through chat.
Based on their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually connected with actually understood the great functions of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Review Comparison
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,especially due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). But they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, 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 utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a lot of security issues worldwide 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 assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have helped customers who have been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & an usually pricey circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Web Host Review Comparison
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and only up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both which allow for more storage & more sees (ie, generally as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k sees monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & 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 whole regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire 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 site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or designer time fixing problems.
Generally, 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 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 Review Comparison
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of clients, 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 developers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that process occur. The phone support is a crucial factor, particularly being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a start-up website owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s special backend and intend on launching a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any previous practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, so many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Host Review Comparison
WP Engine excels not only on existing features but likewise on producing new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement best practices have actually altered significantly considering that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web advancement to integrate best practices into application & projects 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous stand due to the fact that they merely aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some customers. I don’t use them for this website since I do not need many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Review Comparison
All that stated, here are a few of the larger 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 difference can be quite made complex– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can cause some developers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev site available to the general public or simply not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they already do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the basic user. Web Host Review Comparison
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to view that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a huge deal (as soon as you surpass the learning curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never actually stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website checklists 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 that they do all this. And in most cases, support will just look after all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Host Review Comparison
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods terms of decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for good factors, however those bans restrict flexibility and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured allows for less adaptability too. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also costly to pay based upon a variety of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to element extra 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 enable on an Individual or Company. And this point goes further if your website requires lots of plugins for complete functionality.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot actually do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do a painful migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for efficiency & not having to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Web Host Review Comparison
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that does not even include many of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits requires extra costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest total, but exactly what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a solid product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to worry about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see what you think of their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more liberty/ much better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Web Host Review Comparison