WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Ubuntu Server
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 Ubuntu Server
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has become a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all vary in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually 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 rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as an entire, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it’s important to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a various approach. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Host Ubuntu Server
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous projects considering that 2012. I don’t use them for my main websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a present client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” Here is their discount pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Web Host Ubuntu Server
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your site is, the more intricate the solutions to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text site with a few standard plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom theme files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a slow site does not imply that you require a bigger, much better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however sometimes it’s more about caching specific 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 truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may just have to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain quickly as you grow. There are plenty of services … but either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and recognize the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Host Ubuntu Server
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to start packing the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right out of package, and have it stay that way no matter how big or intricate the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services because you are free to concentrate on speed elements that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, however they likewise provide worldwide information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Ubuntu Server
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Ubuntu Server
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very 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 since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough feature of customer support is that so much 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 mention in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of loan, time and knowledge.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing far better striking all three boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually communicated with actually understood the great functions of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Ubuntu Server
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially since their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security basics are fairly 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 utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website secure 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. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a great deal of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have assisted customers who have actually been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a typically costly situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Web Host Ubuntu Server
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which enable more storage & more check outs (ie, essentially as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k sees monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of little 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 important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates each month & 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 regular monthly charge right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or developer time fixing issues.
Essentially, if your time is better allocated far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Host Ubuntu Server
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first customer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on advancement & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev constructs the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a much better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that process happen. The phone support is an essential element, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd customer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website at one time.
They don’t have any previous routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, so many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Host Ubuntu Server
WP Engine excels not just on existing features however likewise on creating brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement best practices have altered drastically considering that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand adequate web development to integrate finest practices into implementation & jobs 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And many are valid since they just aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some customers. I do not 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 Ubuntu Server
All that stated, here are a few of the larger photo downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be quite made complex– particularly if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they also do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the unique backend can result in some developers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website open up to the public or simply not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they already do.
Like lots of custom 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 finest practice for the basic user. Web Host Ubuntu Server
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to see that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a huge deal (once you get past the learning curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of site lists to assist troubleshoot 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 they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply look after all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Host Ubuntu Server
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods terms of decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s unique 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; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, however those restrictions restrict flexibility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured enables less adaptability as well. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a variety of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want 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 website requires many plugins for complete performance.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot truly do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for efficiency & not needing to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the features you’re getting, you actually don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually visiting frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Host Ubuntu Server
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) handled more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr duration 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 relatively transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even include much of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to spread out the cost of your strategy,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, but exactly what is best for you based upon your objectives, spending plan, resources & routines.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a strong product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to worry about hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more liberty/ better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer support.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Web Host Ubuntu Server