WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Uptime Monitor
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to supply handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Host Uptime Monitor
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all differ in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as an entire, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it’s important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a different method. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Host Uptime Monitor
I’ve utilized WP Engine for different jobs because 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 Uptime Monitor
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your site is, the more complex the options to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a few standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with an affordable shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
But a slow website doesn’t suggest that you require a larger, better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, but sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply have to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain fast as you grow. There are lots of options … but either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have actually tailored servers with very aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the exact chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Web Host Uptime Monitor
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough information to begin loading the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it stay that way no matter how big or complicated the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that 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 offers an integrated CDN, however they also provide international information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Uptime Monitor
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Uptime Monitor
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. 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 huge 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 & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult thing about client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever know if the story is due to the fact that they talked with 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 company deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require a financial investment of cash, time and knowledge.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site via chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually connected with in fact knew the fine workings of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after a number of concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Uptime Monitor
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,specifically because their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the downsides). However 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 Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a huge neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals are relatively straightforward:
- 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 commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something takes place. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a great deal of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise 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), but have helped customers who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a normally expensive scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Web Host Uptime Monitor
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your 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 monthly.
Both of which permit more storage & more gos to (ie, basically as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes on a monthly basis. 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 gos to 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 do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time fixing problems.
Generally, if your time is better designated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Host Uptime Monitor
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing basic website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process take place. The phone support is an essential element, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a startup website owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on launching a near-complete site at one time.
They do not have any previous practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. 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 kind of customer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this review revision. Web Host Uptime Monitor
WP Engine excels not only on current features however also on developing new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new designer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have changed drastically because I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to incorporate best practices into application & jobs with developers.
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 fit for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And lots of are valid due to the fact that they just aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some customers. I don’t use them for this site because I do not need many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Uptime Monitor
All that said, here are a few of the larger image drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be rather complicated– especially if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can cause some developers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website available to the public or merely not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they currently do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the basic user. Web Host Uptime Monitor
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to enjoy that video multiple 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-made backend isn’t going to be a big deal (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never actually stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website checklists to assist fix all sorts of concerns.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in most cases, support will just look after everything.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Host Uptime Monitor
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban specific plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, but those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, 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 method their prices is structured permits less adaptability too. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also pricey to pay based on a variety of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to factor additional 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 deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Company. And this point goes further if your website requires many plugins for complete functionality.
The very same goes for 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.
In addition, you cannot truly do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another email company mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending for efficiency & not having to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally visiting frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Host Uptime Monitor
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) handled more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even include many of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your strategy,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest overall, however what is finest for you based upon your goals, budget, resources & practices.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a terrific service with a strong product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to fret about hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see what you think of their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more freedom/ better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Web Host Uptime Monitor