WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Uptime
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to provide managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Host Uptime
While they have lots of competition in both the general 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 growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all differ in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is very important to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a various technique. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Host Uptime
I have actually used WP Engine for various tasks since 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a present client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying customer or specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their promotion 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
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, however the general rule is that the more intricate your website 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 site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally extra plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a slow site doesn’t mean that you need a bigger, much better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, however sometimes it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may simply need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain quick as you grow. There are a lot of services … but either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and identify the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Web Host Uptime
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough information to begin filling the page.
It’s nice to have that kind of speed right out of package, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or complex 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 because you are totally free to concentrate on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an integrated CDN, however they also provide international data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Uptime
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
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has 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 hard thing about consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is because they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to try to find gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of money, time and competence.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the website through chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually interacted with really knew the great workings of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’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 adeptly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of a number of concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Uptime
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly because their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). But they appear to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed financial 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 nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals 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 commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something takes place. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a great deal of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted customers who have been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & a generally expensive situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Web Host Uptime
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same cost 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 per month.
Both of which permit more storage & more sees (ie, basically as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k sees monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates disadvantage 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 designer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly cost 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 month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or designer time repairing problems.
Essentially, if your time is better assigned 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 rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Host Uptime
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a crucial element, specifically being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup site owner that has the budget and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on launching a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any previous routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and supply support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, so many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Host Uptime
WP Engine stands out not only on current functions but also on producing new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented new developer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually altered significantly considering that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to integrate best practices into implementation & tasks with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And numerous stand 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 suitable for some consumers. I do not use them for this website because I do not require much of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Uptime
All that said, here are some of the bigger photo disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be quite made complex– specifically if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the distinct backend can lead to some designers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev website open to the public or just not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they currently do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the general user. Web Host Uptime
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to view that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a huge deal (when you get past the learning curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of website lists to help 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.
Again– they have reasons that they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply take care of all of it.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Host Uptime
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is also 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 predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban certain plugins & admin behavior for great factors, but those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured permits less versatility also. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also expensive to pay based upon a number of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to aspect additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Business. And this point goes further if your site requires numerous plugins for complete functionality.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are planning to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot truly do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In any 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 spending for performance & not needing to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based on the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Web Host Uptime
Many shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned previously that does not even include a number of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs extra expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the rate. You cannot use them to expand the cost of your strategy,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a pricey option, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however exactly what is finest for you based on your goals, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a great service with a strong product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to worry about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see exactly what you consider their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more freedom/ much better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Web Host Uptime