WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host Wiki
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 handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Host Wiki
While they have lots of competition 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 advanced functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But 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 features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as a whole, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it’s important to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a various approach. 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 “best fit” for. Web Host Wiki
I’ve utilized WP Engine for different tasks because 2012. I do not utilize them for my main sites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying customer 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 promise “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Wiki
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complex your site is, the more complex the services to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a few standard plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually extra plugins, customized theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a slow website does not imply that you need a bigger, better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might simply need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain quick as you grow. There are lots of options … however either you or a designer should execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have personalized servers with very aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Host Wiki
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra scripts, too many 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 filling the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that method no matter how big or complicated the website gets.
*Keep in mind 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 considering that you are totally free to focus 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 only provides an incorporated CDN, however they likewise supply global data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host Wiki
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host Wiki
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has actually grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough thing about consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever know if the story is since they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three need a financial investment of money, time and know-how.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the site through chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has engaged with actually knew the great workings of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host Wiki
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly because their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the downsides). However they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a huge community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security essentials are fairly 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 industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that although security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe and secure 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 & ready to roll back if something happens. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a lot of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually helped clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, laborious & a typically expensive scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Web Host Wiki
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both of which permit more storage & more sees (ie, generally as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k check outs each month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes on a monthly basis. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole monthly 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 monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time fixing problems.
Essentially, if your time is better allocated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an 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 Wiki
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable 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 client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on advancement & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev constructs the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a much better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a key aspect, specifically having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third customer type is a startup website owner that has the budget and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on introducing a near-complete site all at once.
They do not have any previous habits or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, numerous of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Host Wiki
WP Engine stands out not only on present functions however also on creating brand-new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement best practices have actually changed drastically given that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to integrate finest practices into execution & tasks 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 everybody. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And lots of stand because they just aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some clients. I do not use them for this website due to the fact that I do not need much of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host Wiki
All that said, here are some of the larger image drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be rather made complex– particularly if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can lead to some designers making mistakes varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website available to the public or simply not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they currently do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the general user. Web Host Wiki
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to view that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (when you surpass the learning curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of website checklists 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.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And in many cases, support will just take care of all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Host Wiki
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or very real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin behavior for great factors, however 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 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 versatile and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured allows for less flexibility too. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based on a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want 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 allow on an Individual or Service. And this point goes further if your site needs many plugins for complete performance.
The very same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t truly do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for performance & not having to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you truly do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Web Host Wiki
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even consist of much of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the cost. You cannot use them to expand the cost of your strategy,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up 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 alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however exactly what is best for you based on your goals, spending plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a solid product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to stress over hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you think about their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more liberty/ much better prices than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. 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 quiz. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Web Host Wiki