WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Vs Cloud Service
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to offer handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Host Vs Cloud Service
While they have lots of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many ways -and they have broad name recognition and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services provided. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as a whole, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it’s important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a various technique. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Host Vs Cloud Service
I have actually utilized WP Engine for numerous tasks since 2012. I do not utilize them for my main websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a present client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” 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 Vs Cloud Service
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, however the guideline is that the more complex your site is, the more intricate the services to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text site with a few fundamental plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with an economical shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically additional plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
However a sluggish site does not indicate that you need a larger, better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might just have to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of options … but either you or a designer must execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and recognize the exact chokepoint to get your website moving. Web Host Vs Cloud Service
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough data to begin loading the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right from package, and have it remain 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 back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services given that you are complimentary to concentrate on speed elements 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 likewise provide global data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Vs Cloud Service
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Vs Cloud Service
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place 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 actually grown & altered 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 a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever know 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 mention in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to try to find access, systems, and understanding, all 3 need an investment of loan, time and expertise.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site via chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has connected with in fact understood the great workings 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 rep was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of numerous problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Vs Cloud Service
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,especially because their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). However they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That suggests 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. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security basics 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website secure is still ultimately 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 & all set to roll back if something happens. Given that you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a great deal of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a normally expensive situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Web Host Vs Cloud Service
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, dependable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both which enable more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k sees monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But 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 value & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & 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 whole month-to-month fee right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time repairing concerns.
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 really their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Host Vs Cloud Service
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev constructs the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing basic site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process take place. The phone support is an essential element, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third consumer type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on launching a near-complete site at one time.
They don’t have any prior practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and supply support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Host Vs Cloud Service
WP Engine stands out not only on current features but likewise on developing new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented new developer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even general web advancement best practices have actually altered radically considering that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know enough web advancement to incorporate finest practices into implementation & projects with designers.
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 simply aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some customers. I don’t use them for this site since I do not require much of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Vs Cloud Service
All that stated, here are a few of the larger image drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be rather complicated– especially if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can result in some designers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open to the public or merely not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they currently do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the general user. Web Host Vs Cloud Service
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to see that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (once you get past the learning curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of site checklists to help 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.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And in many cases, support will just look after everything.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to enter 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 Vs Cloud Service
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or extremely genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit more to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin habits for good factors, however those restrictions limit versatility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sites, it gets the job done 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 to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured permits less flexibility too. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise costly to pay based on a number of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to aspect 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 handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Service. And this point goes even more if your site requires many plugins for full functionality.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you can’t really do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up having to do an unpleasant migration to another email company 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 maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you truly don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Host Vs Cloud Service
Many shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr 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 relatively transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even consist of a number of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs extra expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are looking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, but exactly what is finest for you based on your goals, budget, resources & habits.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a terrific service with a solid item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to stress over hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think about their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more freedom/ much better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer care.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Web Host Vs Cloud Service