WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Reviews Pc Magazine
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first business to provide handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Host Reviews Pc Magazine
While they have plenty of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized 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 competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as an entire, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is essential to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a various method. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Host Reviews Pc Magazine
I’ve utilized WP Engine for different tasks considering that 2012. I don’t use them for my main websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a present client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer 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 Pc Magazine
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, however the general rule is that the more intricate your site is, the more complex the services to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a few standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually extra plugins, custom-made style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish website doesn’t indicate that you need a bigger, better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, however often it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might just have to eliminate the emergency brake, install 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 lots of services … but either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have actually personalized servers with very aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and recognize the exact chokepoint to get your site moving. Web Host Reviews Pc Magazine
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin packing the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right from package, and have it stay that way no matter how big or intricate 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 might get with other services because you are free to focus on speed aspects that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an integrated CDN, however they likewise supply global data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Reviews Pc Magazine
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 Pc Magazine
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my 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 & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult aspect of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never know if the story is because they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to try to find access, systems, and understanding, all three need an investment of money, time and know-how.
Based on my current 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 all over on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has engaged with actually knew the great functions of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of several issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Reviews Pc Magazine
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially because their custom 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 value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are relatively simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website secure 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 whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a great deal of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security companies on code reviews 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 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 pricey situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Web Host Reviews Pc Magazine
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very 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 of which enable more storage & more sees (ie, generally as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup 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 whole month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly 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 whole month-to-month fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time repairing problems.
Generally, if your time is much better assigned far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Host Reviews Pc Magazine
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first customer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on development & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev constructs the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer 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 relocate to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a crucial element, especially having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s special backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any prior routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, numerous 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 truly worth calling out in this review revision. Web Host Reviews Pc Magazine
WP Engine stands out not only on current functions but also on producing brand-new, advanced hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new developer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web development finest practices have actually altered significantly because I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand enough web advancement to incorporate finest practices into execution & tasks with developers.
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 very best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And many are valid 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 an excellent fit for some clients. I do not use them for this website due to the fact that I do not require many of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Reviews Pc Magazine
All that said, here are some of the larger picture disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be quite complicated– 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 absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can cause some developers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website open up to the public or merely not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more novice clients than they already do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the general user. Web Host Reviews Pc Magazine
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, but I needed to see that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a big deal (when you get past the learning curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of site checklists to help troubleshoot all sorts of problems.
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 most of the times, support will simply look after all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Host Reviews Pc Magazine
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for good reasons, but those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured permits less flexibility too. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also pricey to pay based upon a variety of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to factor additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Business. And this point goes further if your website needs numerous plugins for complete performance.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot truly do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up needing to do a painful migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for efficiency & not having to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally logging in often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Web Host Reviews Pc Magazine
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 plan from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour duration 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 relatively transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even include a number of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to spread out the expense of your plan,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are looking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, but what is finest for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a great service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to stress over hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see what you consider their backend. Make certain to talk 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 alternative. I’ve valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer support.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Web Host Reviews Pc Magazine