WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Reviews 2016
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to provide handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Host Reviews 2016
While they have a lot of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many ways -and they have broad name recognition and innovative features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all differ in services provided. 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 truly buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as a whole, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized 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 contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a various method. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Host Reviews 2016
I have actually utilized WP Engine for numerous jobs since 2012. I don’t use them for my main websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current customer on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their promotion pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Web Host Reviews 2016
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, but the guideline is that the more complicated your website is, the more complex the options to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally extra plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
However a slow website does not imply that you require a larger, much better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, however often it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may just need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to stay quick as you grow. There are plenty of options … but either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the exact chokepoint to get your site moving. Web Host Reviews 2016
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures 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 huge or complicated the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services since you are free to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an integrated CDN, but they likewise supply international information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Reviews 2016
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Reviews 2016
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a big 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 actually grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough aspect of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever know if the story is due to the fact that they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or a cost.
I like to try to find access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need a financial investment of money, time and proficiency.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the site by means of chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has interacted with really understood the fine workings of WordPress and has been able 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 throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of numerous issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Reviews 2016
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). However they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large community launching 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that even though security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a lot of security issues 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 also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted clients who have been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a typically costly situation (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 Reviews 2016
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just 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 price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both of which permit more storage & more visits (ie, basically as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k check outs per month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes each 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 visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or designer time fixing issues.
Generally, if your time is much better assigned away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Host Reviews 2016
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the site straight 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 an ongoing standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a 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 & customer support to make that process occur. The phone support is an essential aspect, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website all at once.
They do not have any prior practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, numerous of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Host Reviews 2016
WP Engine excels not just on current features but likewise on producing new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new developer features that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have altered drastically since I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand enough 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And lots of stand because 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 good fit for some consumers. I do not use them for this site because I do not need many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Reviews 2016
All that said, here are a few of the bigger photo downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be rather complicated– particularly if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can cause some designers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website open up to the public or simply not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they already do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever discuss finest practice for the general user. Web Host Reviews 2016
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to view that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a substantial offer (once you surpass the knowing curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website lists to help troubleshoot all sorts of issues.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And in many cases, support will just take care of everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Host Reviews 2016
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or very genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for great reasons, however those restrictions limit versatility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured permits less versatility too. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also pricey to pay based on a variety of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to aspect additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Business. And this point goes further if your site requires lots of plugins for complete functionality.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t really do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up needing to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for efficiency & not having to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Web Host Reviews 2016
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the exact 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 basic caching) handled more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even consist of much of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your strategy,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are looking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, especially compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, however exactly what is best for you based on your objectives, budget, resources & habits.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a solid product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to stress over hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable 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 install and see what you think about their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more freedom/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Web Host Reviews 2016