WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Vs Cloud
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 specifically for WordPress. Web Host Vs Cloud
While they have a lot of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has become 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 deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as a whole, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is essential to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated reviews based on 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 webhosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Host Vs Cloud
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different tasks given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or specialist to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” Here is their discount pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Web Host Vs Cloud
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your website is, the more complicated the options to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text website with a few basic plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually extra plugins, custom-made theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish website does not indicate that you require a larger, better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, however sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply have to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain fast as you grow. There are lots of options … but either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have customized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Host Vs Cloud
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin loading the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that method no matter how big or intricate the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services since you are free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, however they also supply worldwide data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Vs Cloud
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
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (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:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has actually grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough feature of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never understand if the story is because they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to search for access, systems, and understanding, all 3 need an investment of money, time and knowledge.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all three boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the website via chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually interacted with actually knew the great operations of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Vs Cloud
I make sure that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly because their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, 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. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a lot of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually helped customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a normally costly circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Web Host Vs Cloud
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted 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 per month.
Both which enable more storage & more gos to (ie, basically as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is fantastic.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & 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 regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or developer time fixing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is much better designated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Host Vs Cloud
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears 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 process, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the website 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 standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is an essential aspect, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a startup website owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on releasing a near-complete site at one time.
They do not have any previous habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make promises and provide support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, numerous of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this review modification. Web Host Vs Cloud
WP Engine excels not just on current features however likewise on developing new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even general web advancement best practices have actually changed drastically because I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to incorporate finest practices into application & tasks with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous stand due to the fact that they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some clients. I do not use them for this website due to the fact that I do not need much of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Vs Cloud
All that said, here are a few of the larger image downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite made complex– especially if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the unique backend can result in some developers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site open to the public or simply not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they already do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the basic user. Web Host Vs Cloud
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to see that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a huge offer (as soon as you get past the knowing curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website 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 they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of everything.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Host Vs Cloud
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is also 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 need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit more to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for great reasons, however those restrictions limit versatility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured allows for less adaptability also. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also pricey to pay based upon a variety of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to factor extra 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 site on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes further if your website needs numerous plugins for complete functionality.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you cannot truly do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for performance & not needing to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the features you’re getting, you really do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Host Vs Cloud
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) handled more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even consist of much of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs additional costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the cost. You cannot use them to expand the cost of your strategy,especially 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 a pricey alternative, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, but exactly what is best for you based on your goals, budget, resources & practices.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a terrific service with a strong product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to fret about hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see exactly what you think of their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more freedom/ much better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Web Host Vs Cloud