WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Troop 1865
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first business to supply managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Host Troop 1865
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every rival 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 conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting options.
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 comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a different technique. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Host Troop 1865
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various tasks because 2012. I don’t use them for my main websites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” Here is their promo 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 Troop 1865
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your site is, the more intricate the services to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text website with a few fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally additional plugins, custom style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
But a sluggish website doesn’t imply that you need a larger, much better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, however sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may just need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to stay quick as you grow. There are plenty of options … but either you or a developer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually customized servers with extremely aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Web Host Troop 1865
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The fascinating 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 among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional scripts, a lot of 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 information to begin packing the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right from the box, and have it remain that way no matter how big or intricate the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services since you are totally free to concentrate on speed elements that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, however they also offer international information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Troop 1865
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Troop 1865
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a big 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 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 customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is due to the fact that they spoke with 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 a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need an investment of loan, time and knowledge.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site by means of chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has interacted with actually knew the great workings of WordPress and has 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 during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after several issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Troop 1865
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,specifically due to the fact that their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the downsides). However they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security basics 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, 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 occurs. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have helped customers who have been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a typically pricey scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Web Host Troop 1865
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
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 with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both of which permit more storage & more gos to (ie, generally as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k check outs each month on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is fantastic.
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 entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any visits 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 area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or designer time repairing concerns.
Generally, if your time is better designated far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Host Troop 1865
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first customer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, 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 requirement for an ongoing fundamental website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a much better host.
They’re also established 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 occur. The phone support is a key aspect, especially being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third customer type is a startup site owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on launching a near-complete site all at once.
They don’t have any previous routines or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, numerous of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Host Troop 1865
WP Engine stands out not just on present functions but likewise on creating brand-new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even general web development finest practices have altered radically because I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to integrate finest 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 best fit for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And lots of stand since 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 customers. I don’t utilize them for this website since I do not need a number of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Troop 1865
All that said, here are some of the larger picture drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be quite complicated– particularly if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the distinct backend can result in some designers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site available to the general public or simply not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they already do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never discuss best practice for the general user. Web Host Troop 1865
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to enjoy that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a huge deal (once you surpass the learning curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site checklists to assist 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.
Again– they have reasons that they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply look after it all.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Host Troop 1865
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for great factors, but those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured permits less flexibility too. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also costly to pay based upon a number of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to element 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 site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Service. And this point goes further if your site requires many plugins for full functionality.
The very same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot actually do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending for efficiency & not needing to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Web Host Troop 1865
Many shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) managed more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed earlier that does not even include a lot of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot use them to expand the cost of your plan,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are wanting to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a costly choice, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, but what is best for you based upon your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a strong product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to worry about hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more flexibility/ much better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Web Host Troop 1865