WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Types
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to offer handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Host Types
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all differ in services offered. 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 managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as an entire, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is necessary to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, usually with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a various method. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Host Types
I have actually utilized WP Engine for numerous jobs considering that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client 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 Types
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 options to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text site with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally extra plugins, custom theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site doesn’t imply that you need a larger, better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching specific resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might just have to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain quick as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … but either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with very aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common web host. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and determine the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Host Types
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a tailored 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 bloated theme, 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 information to begin loading the page.
Now here is the speed test of a standard WordPress install. WP Engine not just gets solid TTFB times however keep in mind how comparable the First Byte and First Render are to the Unoptimized website.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right from the box, and have it remain 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 even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services given that you are complimentary to focus on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an incorporated CDN, however they likewise offer international data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Types
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Types
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has actually grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough feature of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is because they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require a financial investment of loan, time and expertise.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing far better striking all three boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has communicated with actually understood the great functions of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to expertly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after several concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Types
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly because their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That suggests 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. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security fundamentals 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 commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that even though security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something happens. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a great deal of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have helped clients who have been. It’s aggravating, tedious & an usually costly circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Web Host Types
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same cost 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 permit more storage & more gos to (ie, generally as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & 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 charge right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time fixing concerns.
Generally, if your time is much better designated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. 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 prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Host Types
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is irritated at having to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that process happen. The phone support is a key element, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s special backend and plan on launching a near-complete site at one time.
They don’t have any prior practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make promises and offer support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, numerous of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. Web Host Types
WP Engine stands out not just on existing features however likewise on producing brand-new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web development finest practices have altered radically because I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to incorporate finest practices into application & projects 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 a lot of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And lots of are valid due to the fact that they merely aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this website because I do not require a lot of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Types
All that said, here are some of the bigger image downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be rather made complex– especially if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can lead to some developers making mistakes varying from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open up to the public or just not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they already do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe best practice for the general user. Web Host Types
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually established my share of sites 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 remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (once you get past the knowing curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website checklists to assist repair all sorts of issues.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just look after it all.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Host Types
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or very genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit more to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for great factors, however those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured allows for less adaptability also. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a number of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element 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 enable on a Personal or Business. And this point goes even more if your site requires numerous plugins for complete functionality.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t truly do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up needing to do an agonizing migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for efficiency & not needing to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Web Host Types
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, 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 mentioned earlier that doesn’t even consist of a lot of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs additional costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You can’t use them to spread out the expense of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a costly choice, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, however exactly what is best for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a terrific service with a solid item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want 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 warranty. So do a test install and see what you consider their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more liberty/ better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer service.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Web Host Types