WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Service Provider
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 Service Provider
While they have plenty of competitors in both the general 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 functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting market has become a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all differ in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as a whole, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is necessary to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a different approach. This review 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 “finest fit” for. Web Host Service Provider
I’ve used WP Engine for different tasks because 2012. I do not use them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a current customer on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning 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 Service Provider
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, but the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more intricate the options to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text website with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with an affordable shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally additional plugins, custom theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site does not imply that you need a bigger, better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, however in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply have to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to stay quickly as you grow. There are lots of options … but either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually tailored servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Web Host Service Provider
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note 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 good to have that kind of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that way no matter how big or intricate 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 may get with other services given that you are complimentary to concentrate on speed aspects that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, but they likewise provide global data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Service Provider
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Service Provider
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of 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 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 stated, the difficult thing about client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever know if the story is since they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I want to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require an investment of cash, time and competence.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website via chat.
Based upon their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has connected with actually understood the fine workings of WordPress and has had the ability 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 transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after several issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Service Provider
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly due to the fact that their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). However 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 suggests 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. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security basics are relatively uncomplicated:
- 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 commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is simple, the duty 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 and secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially 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 “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a lot of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have assisted clients who have actually been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a typically pricey scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Web Host Service Provider
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which allow for more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k gos to per month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates downside 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 & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or developer time repairing concerns.
Generally, if your time is much better designated away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot 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 Service Provider
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 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to move 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 & consumer support to make that process take place. The phone support is an essential factor, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a start-up site owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on releasing a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any previous routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. Web Host Service Provider
WP Engine stands out not just on present features but likewise on developing brand-new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have altered radically because I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to incorporate finest practices into application & tasks with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And numerous are valid because they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some clients. I do not use them for this website because I do not need a number of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Service Provider
All that said, here are a few of the larger picture disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be rather made complex– specifically if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the unique backend can lead to some developers making mistakes ranging from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev website open up to the public or simply not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain best practice for the basic user. Web Host Service Provider
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to enjoy that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a substantial deal (when you surpass the learning curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site lists to help repair all sorts of concerns.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons that they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply look after it all.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Host Service Provider
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin behavior for great factors, but those restrictions restrict flexibility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured enables less versatility as well. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s also expensive to pay based upon a variety of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want 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 allow on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your site needs many plugins for complete performance.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t really do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another email company mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for efficiency & not having to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Web Host Service Provider
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) managed more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even include a number of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs additional costs & technical implementation 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 sites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, but what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a solid product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to worry about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see exactly what you think of their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more flexibility/ much better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer support.
And lastly, 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 Service Provider