WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Host WordPress Free
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to provide managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Host WordPress Free
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name recognition and innovative functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + functionality.
Every competitor 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 conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
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 contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, usually with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a different approach. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Host WordPress Free
I’ve used WP Engine for different projects considering that 2012. I don’t use them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a current customer on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer 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 WordPress Free
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, but the general rule is that the more complicated your site is, the more complex the services to speed become.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text website with a couple of standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with an economical shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically additional plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a slow website doesn’t mean that you require a bigger, better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply have to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to stay quick as you grow. There are plenty of services … however either you or a developer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with extremely aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and identify the precise chokepoint to get your site moving. Web Host WordPress Free
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs because they have such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to start packing the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right from package, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or complicated the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services given that you are totally free to concentrate on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, however they likewise supply worldwide data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Host WordPress Free
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Host WordPress Free
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of 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 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 customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is because they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require a financial investment of cash, time and know-how.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing far better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the website through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually connected with in fact knew the fine operations of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Host WordPress Free
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially because their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the downsides). But they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a huge community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe is still ultimately 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 & ready to roll back if something happens. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a great deal of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have helped customers who have been. It’s aggravating, tedious & an usually pricey scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Web Host WordPress Free
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both of which enable more storage & more visits (ie, basically as lots of as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or developer time fixing problems.
Essentially, if your time is better designated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Host WordPress Free
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of clients 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 first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on development & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous standard website maintenance. 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 having to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process occur. The phone support is an essential aspect, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a startup website owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on launching a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any prior routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once 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 client.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, so many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Host WordPress Free
WP Engine stands out not just on present features but also on creating new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have altered significantly because I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web development to incorporate best practices into execution & projects with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit 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 everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some clients. I don’t use them for this site because I do not require a lot of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Host WordPress Free
All that stated, here are some of the bigger picture disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be quite complicated– particularly if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can cause some designers making mistakes varying from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site available to the public or just not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more novice consumers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the basic user. Web Host WordPress Free
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to see that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a substantial offer (as soon as you surpass the learning curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of site lists to assist troubleshoot all sorts of issues.
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 in many cases, support will just look after it all.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many 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 WordPress Free
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for great factors, however those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured allows for less adaptability too. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise expensive to pay based upon a number of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to element additional 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 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 even more if your site needs numerous plugins for complete functionality.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot really do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for efficiency & not having to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually logging in frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Web Host WordPress Free
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even include a lot of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional expenses & technical execution 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 sites, you have to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to expand the expense of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, especially compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, but exactly what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a solid product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to fret about hosting concerns.
If handled 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 what you consider their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more flexibility/ much better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer support.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Web Host WordPress Free