WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Vs Own Server
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to provide managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Host Vs Own Server
While they have lots of competitors 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 innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has become a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all differ in services supplied. 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 truly purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater cost 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 various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as an entire, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it’s important to comprehend 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 individual experience. That’s fine but I take a various method. This evaluation will take a 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 Vs Own Server
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous tasks given that 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a current client on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based on 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 “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer 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 Vs Own Server
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, but the guideline is that the more complicated your site is, the more complicated the options to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a few standard plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with an affordable shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually extra plugins, customized style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
However a slow website doesn’t indicate that you need a bigger, better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but often it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply have to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to remain fast as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … but either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually tailored servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and identify the precise chokepoint to get your site moving. Web Host Vs Own Server
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough information to start packing the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right from the box, and have it stay that method no matter how big or complicated the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are complimentary to focus on speed elements that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an integrated CDN, but they likewise supply worldwide information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Vs Own Server
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 Own Server
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of 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 company has actually grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard aspect of client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is since they talked 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 business deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I like to search for access, systems, and understanding, all three require an investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually communicated with in fact understood the great operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of several issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Vs Own Server
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly since their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the downsides). But they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a very large community launching 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 utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that although security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website 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 occurs. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a great deal of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually helped customers who have actually been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a normally expensive scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Web Host Vs Own Server
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, dependable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning 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 check outs (ie, basically as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k check outs per month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time fixing issues.
Generally, if your time is much better assigned away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Host Vs Own Server
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit 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 client type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing basic site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process occur. The phone support is a crucial aspect, specifically being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s special backend and intend on releasing a near-complete site all at once.
They do not have any prior habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this type of customer.
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), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Host Vs Own Server
WP Engine stands out not just on present features however likewise on producing new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new designer functions that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even general web advancement best practices have altered significantly because I started observing the market *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web development to integrate best practices into execution & 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 fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And many are valid since they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some customers. I don’t use them for this website due to the fact that I do not require many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Vs Own Server
All that stated, here are some of the bigger image downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be rather made complex– especially if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the unique backend can result in some developers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website open up to the general public or simply not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain finest practice for the basic user. Web Host Vs Own Server
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to enjoy that video multiple 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 custom backend isn’t going to be a huge deal (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to learn very 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 website checklists to assist repair all sorts of concerns.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in many cases, support will just take care of it all.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Host Vs Own Server
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or extremely genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin behavior for great factors, however those bans limit flexibility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted 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 pricing is structured permits less flexibility too. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, but it’s also costly to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have 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 deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes further if your site requires many plugins for full performance.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t actually do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending for efficiency & not needing to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you truly do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Web Host Vs Own Server
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even include a lot of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs extra costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t use them to spread out the cost of your strategy,specifically if you are hitting 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 option, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, however what is finest for you based on your goals, budget, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a strong product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans 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 fret about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you consider their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more liberty/ better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer care.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Web Host Vs Own Server