WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Sign In
While they have lots of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all differ in services provided. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers 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 site content + performance.
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 alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is essential to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, normally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a various approach. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Host Sign In
I’ve used WP Engine for various tasks considering that 2012. I do not use them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), however I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business discussed. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying client or specialist to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their discount pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Web Host Sign In
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your website is, the more complex the solutions to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text website with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
However a slow site doesn’t mean that you require a bigger, better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to transport a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may simply have to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to stay quickly as you grow. There are a lot of services … however either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and determine the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Host Sign In
They don’t 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 because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough information to start loading the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right from 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 consumed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are free to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an integrated CDN, however they also offer worldwide information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Sign In
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Sign In
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes 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 ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough thing about customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never understand if the story is since they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to try to find gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three need an investment of cash, time and know-how.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site by means of chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually engaged with really knew the fine operations of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’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 “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of numerous issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Sign In
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly since their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set 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 concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually helped clients who have been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & an usually costly situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Web Host Sign In
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both which enable more storage & more visits (ie, generally as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in 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 monthly. 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 visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time repairing problems.
Essentially, if your time is much better allocated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually 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 Sign In
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of consumers 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 very first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing fundamental site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a crucial element, particularly being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup website owner that has the budget and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on launching a near-complete site all at once.
They don’t have any prior routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and supply support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, so many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Host Sign In
WP Engine excels not just on present features but also on developing new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even general web development finest practices have altered significantly since I began observing the market *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to integrate best practices into implementation & tasks 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous are valid since they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some customers. I don’t use them for this site since I do not need many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Sign In
All that stated, here are some of the bigger image drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be rather made complex– particularly if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the special backend can lead to some developers making mistakes varying from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site available to the public or just not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they already do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever describe finest practice for the general user. Web Host Sign In
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to watch that video numerous 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 custom-made backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (as soon as you get past the knowing curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of site checklists to assist 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.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply look after everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Host Sign In
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods terms of lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s unique 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; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or very genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit further to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin habits for great factors, but those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured enables less adaptability too. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise costly to pay based on a number of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to aspect extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes further if your website requires lots of plugins for full functionality.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t actually do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for performance & not needing to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you truly do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Web Host Sign In
Many shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out earlier that does not even consist of much of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits needs additional costs & technical application 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 have to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are planning to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, but what is finest for you based on your objectives, budget, resources & practices.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a fantastic service with a strong item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to stress over hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a suitable 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 consider their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more flexibility/ much better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer support.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Web Host Sign In