WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Vs Registrar
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first business to supply managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Host Vs Registrar
While they have lots of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all differ in services provided. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is very important to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, generally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a different technique. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Host Vs Registrar
I have actually used WP Engine for different tasks since 2012. I don’t use them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business mentioned. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their promotion pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Web Host Vs Registrar
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your website is, the more complicated the options to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a few fundamental plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with an affordable shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish site does not mean that you require a larger, much better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are aiming to transport a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might just need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to stay quick as you grow. There are plenty of options … however either you or a developer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have tailored servers with extremely aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and recognize the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Host Vs Registrar
They do not even enable 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 sets up still do well on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to start loading the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right from the box, and have it remain that method no matter how big or complex the website 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 because you are free to concentrate on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, however they also supply worldwide data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Vs Registrar
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 Registrar
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a huge 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 grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard aspect of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is due to the fact that they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or a cost.
I like to search for access, systems, and understanding, all three need an investment of cash, time and expertise.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site by means of chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has interacted with really knew the great functions of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however 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 only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Vs Registrar
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly since their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible 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 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 & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that even though security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those best 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 “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a great deal of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have helped clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tedious & a generally costly circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Web Host Vs Registrar
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both which allow for more storage & more visits (ie, basically as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time repairing issues.
Essentially, if your time is better designated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Host Vs Registrar
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev constructs the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a better host.
They’re also developed 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 being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd client type is a start-up site owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s special backend and intend on launching a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any previous habits or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Host Vs Registrar
WP Engine stands out not just on current features however likewise on developing brand-new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new developer features that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even general web development best practices have changed significantly given that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to integrate best practices into implementation & 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And lots of are valid because they just aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this site because I do not require much of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Vs Registrar
All that stated, here are some of the larger photo downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be rather complicated– particularly if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the distinct backend can cause some designers making mistakes varying from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website available to the general public or merely not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they already do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the basic user. Web Host Vs Registrar
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to watch that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (as soon as you get past the knowing curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site checklists to help troubleshoot all sorts of problems.
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 most of the times, support will just take care of it all.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Host Vs Registrar
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with 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 have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin behavior for excellent reasons, however those bans limit versatility and experimentation if your website might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured allows for less versatility as well. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also costly to pay based on a variety of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to factor additional hosting expenses 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 manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Service. And this point goes further if your website needs many plugins for complete performance.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t really do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for performance & not having to think excessive 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 updated and typically visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Web Host Vs Registrar
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour duration 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 relatively transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out earlier that does not even include a lot of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to expand the expense of your strategy,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is an expensive option, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best total, but what is best for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a terrific service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to stress over hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see what you consider their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more liberty/ better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Web Host Vs Registrar