WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Reviews
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to supply managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Host Reviews
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all differ in services provided. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is very important to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, normally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a various method. 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 Reviews
I’ve utilized WP Engine for different jobs because 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), however I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Reviews
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, but the guideline is that the more intricate your site is, the more complex the solutions to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text site with a few basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally additional plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish website does not mean that you need a larger, much better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may simply need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain fast as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … but either you or a developer should implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually personalized servers with very aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the exact chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Web Host Reviews
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have such a customized 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 additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional 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 begin filling the page.
It’s great to have that sort 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 back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are totally free to concentrate on speed factors that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an incorporated CDN, however they also supply worldwide information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Reviews
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
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because 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 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 company has actually grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult aspect of client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never know if the story is due to the fact that they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to search for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need a financial investment of cash, time and know-how.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website by means of chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually connected with actually knew the fine functions of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Reviews
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,especially because their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the downsides). But they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security basics are fairly 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that although security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site secure is still eventually 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 everything off-site & ready to roll back if something happens. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty 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), however have helped customers who have been. It’s aggravating, laborious & an usually costly scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Web Host Reviews
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both which allow for more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes on a monthly basis. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole month-to-month fee right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or developer time repairing problems.
Essentially, if your time is better assigned far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Host Reviews
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears 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 procedure, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on development & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing basic site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is a key factor, especially being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third consumer type is a startup website owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s special backend and plan on launching a near-complete site simultaneously.
They do not have any prior routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, numerous of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Host Reviews
WP Engine stands out not just on present functions however also on developing new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new developer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have altered significantly since I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to integrate best practices into implementation & projects 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And many are valid since they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some consumers. I do not use them for this website due to the fact that I do not need a number of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Reviews
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger image drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be quite made complex– especially if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can result in some designers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website open to the public or simply not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they already do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe finest practice for the general user. Web Host Reviews
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to watch that video numerous 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 custom backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (once you surpass the knowing curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site checklists to help repair 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 they do all this. And most of the times, support will just take care of all of it.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Host Reviews
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or really real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, but those bans limit versatility and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured enables less adaptability as well. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also expensive to pay based upon a variety of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to factor extra hosting expenses 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 handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes further if your site needs lots of plugins for full performance.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t truly do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up having to do an unpleasant migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
Either way, 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 generally spending for performance & not having to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally visiting regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Web Host Reviews
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even consist of a lot of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the rate. You can’t utilize them to spread out the cost of your plan,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are looking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest overall, however what is best 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 provide a terrific service with a strong item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to fret about hosting concerns.
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 set up and see exactly what you consider their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more flexibility/ much better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Web Host Reviews