WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Vancouver
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first business to offer handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Host Vancouver
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all differ in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses 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 site material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as an entire, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is essential to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine 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 Vancouver
I have actually utilized WP Engine for numerous jobs given that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main websites today (see conclusion), however I do have a current customer on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies discussed. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or consultant 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 “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” Here is their promo pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Web Host Vancouver
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal 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 become.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a mainly text website with a few standard plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically additional plugins, custom-made style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
But a slow site does not mean that you need a bigger, better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, however sometimes it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply have to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … however either you or a developer need to implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Host Vancouver
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to start packing the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or complicated the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are complimentary to focus on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an incorporated CDN, however they likewise supply worldwide data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Vancouver
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Vancouver
Customer support has 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 position a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has 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 difficult feature of consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never understand if the story is due to the fact that they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to search for access, systems, and understanding, all three require a financial investment of cash, time and competence.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the website by means of chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has engaged with really understood the fine workings of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to expertly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Vancouver
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly because their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required 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 advantage of being open-source with a huge neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, 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 business arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready 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 internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security firms 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 actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually helped clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tedious & an usually pricey situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Web Host Vancouver
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both of which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, basically as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low cost 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 overall worth & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time repairing issues.
Basically, if your time is better assigned far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Host Vancouver
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on development & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing fundamental site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at having to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that process occur. The phone support is a crucial aspect, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website all at once.
They do not have any prior practices 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 promises and provide support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, so many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this review revision. Web Host Vancouver
WP Engine excels not just on present features but also on developing new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new developer features that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even general web advancement best practices have changed drastically considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know adequate web development to integrate 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous stand due to the fact that they simply aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some customers. I don’t utilize them for this site due to the fact that I do not need much of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Vancouver
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger picture drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be rather complicated– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the distinct backend can lead to some developers making errors ranging from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev site open to the general public or just not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the general user. Web Host Vancouver
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to watch that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (once you surpass the learning curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of site lists to assist troubleshoot 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.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply look after all of it.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Host Vancouver
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or very real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin habits for good reasons, but those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured permits less adaptability too. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise pricey to pay based on a variety of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have 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 site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Business. And this point goes further if your website needs numerous plugins for complete performance.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot actually do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for performance & not having to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the features you’re getting, you really don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Host Vancouver
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even consist of much of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires additional costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to spread out the cost of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, but what is best for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a solid item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to worry about hosting concerns.
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 exactly what you think of their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more freedom/ much better prices than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer support.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Web Host Vancouver