WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Vs Security
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first business to offer managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Host Vs Security
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as an entire, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is very important to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a different 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 Security
I have actually used WP Engine for different jobs given that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business discussed. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational 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 Security
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, however the general rule is that the more complicated your site is, the more complex the solutions to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text website with a few fundamental plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically extra plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a slow website doesn’t suggest that you require a larger, much better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, but often it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might just have to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to stay quick as you grow. There are lots of services … but either you or a developer need to implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the exact chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Web Host Vs Security
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind 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 nice to have that sort of speed right out of package, 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 much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are complimentary to focus on speed factors that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, however they also offer global information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Vs Security
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 Security
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
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 stated, the difficult thing about customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never know if the story is due to the fact that they spoke with 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 treats support as an investment or a cost.
I like to try to find access, systems, and knowledge, all three require an investment of cash, time and knowledge.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing far better striking all three boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site through chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has interacted with in fact knew the fine functions 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 client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Vs Security
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). However they seem to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required 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 absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a very large community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Much like 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 essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle 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 assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted clients who have been. It’s aggravating, laborious & an usually costly scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Web Host Vs Security
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and only as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both which allow for more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k sees monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is fantastic.
Just 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 entire regular monthly charge right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or designer time fixing problems.
Essentially, if your time is better designated away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Host Vs Security
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears 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 process, the first client type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic 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 annoyed at needing to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is an essential aspect, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s special backend and intend on launching a near-complete site all at once.
They don’t have any prior routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make promises and offer support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these types of consumers, 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, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Host Vs Security
WP Engine stands out not just on present features but likewise on producing new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new developer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web development best practices have actually altered radically since I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to integrate finest practices into implementation & jobs with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of stand due to the fact that they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some customers. I don’t use them for this website since I do not need many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Vs Security
All that stated, here are some of the larger image drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be quite made complex– especially if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they likewise don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can result in some developers making errors ranging from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open to the general public or simply not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they currently do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever describe finest practice for the basic user. Web Host Vs Security
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to view that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a substantial deal (once you get past the learning curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site lists to assist fix 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.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply look after everything.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Host Vs Security
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of decreasing & 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 need to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really genuine physical limits), however 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 pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for great reasons, however those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured allows for less versatility as well. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise expensive to pay based upon a variety of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to aspect extra 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 manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Business. And this point goes even more if your site requires lots of plugins for full performance.
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 utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t truly do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for efficiency & not needing to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Web Host Vs Security
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed earlier that does not even include many of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits requires extra expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to spread out the expense of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are wanting to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a costly choice, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, but exactly what is best for you based upon your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a terrific service with a solid product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to fret about hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see what you consider their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more liberty/ much better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Web Host Vs Security