WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host What Is
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to supply handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Host What Is
While they have a lot of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all differ in services supplied. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it’s important to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a various method. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Host What Is
I’ve used WP Engine for different tasks since 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current customer on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class client service.” 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 What Is
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, but the guideline is that the more complex your site is, the more complex the solutions to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text site with a few fundamental plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally additional plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a slow website doesn’t suggest that you require a bigger, better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are aiming to transport a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply have to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain quick as you grow. There are lots of services … but either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually personalized servers with very aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the specific chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Web Host What Is
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, 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 data to begin packing the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right out of package, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or complicated the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services given that you are complimentary to concentrate on speed factors that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, however they also provide international data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host What Is
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host What Is
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my 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 said, the difficult feature of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever know if the story is because they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need an investment of money, time and competence.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the site through chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually connected with in fact knew the great workings of WordPress and has 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 associate was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after a number of concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host What Is
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly due to the fact that their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). But they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals are fairly simple:
- 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that even though security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site protected is still ultimately 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 everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something takes place. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a great deal of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped customers who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tedious & an usually expensive situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Web Host What Is
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more gos to (ie, basically as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or developer time repairing problems.
Basically, if your time is better designated away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Host What Is
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that process happen. The phone support is a crucial factor, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third 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 comfy learning WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on launching a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any previous practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, so many of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Host What Is
WP Engine excels not only on current functions but also on producing new, innovative hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented new developer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement best practices have altered drastically given that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to integrate finest practices into implementation & projects 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And numerous are valid due to the fact that they just aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some clients. I do not utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not require a lot of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host What Is
All that said, here are a few of the bigger photo downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be rather complicated– especially if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can cause some designers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website available to the general public or merely not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they already do.
Like many custom 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 explain finest practice for the general user. Web Host What Is
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to see that video numerous 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 going to be a substantial offer (when you get past the knowing curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never actually stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website lists to assist 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 they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just take care of it all.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Host What Is
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or extremely genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for excellent factors, but those bans limit versatility and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured enables less adaptability as well. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send, but it’s also costly to pay based upon a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element additional hosting costs 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 manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Business. And this point goes even more if your site needs many plugins for complete performance.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot actually do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up needing to do a painful migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending for performance & not needing to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the features you’re getting, you truly do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Web Host What Is
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even include much of the features you don’t 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 needs extra costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to spread out the cost of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, but what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a strong item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to stress over hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think of their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more flexibility/ much better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer service.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Web Host What Is