WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosted Email
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to supply managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Hosted Email
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all differ in services provided. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, 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 different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as an entire, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is essential to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, generally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a various approach. This review will take a 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 Hosted Email
I’ve utilized WP Engine for numerous jobs since 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), however I do have a current customer on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer 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 Hosted Email
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, however the guideline is that the more intricate your site is, the more complicated the services to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a few fundamental plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally additional plugins, customized style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish site does not indicate that you require a larger, better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, however sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may just have to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to stay quick as you grow. There are a lot of services … however either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have customized servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Web Hosted Email
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin packing the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right out of package, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or complex the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services given that you are complimentary to focus on speed factors that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, however they also supply global data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosted Email
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosted Email
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place 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 grown & changed 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 tough feature of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never understand if the story is due to the fact that they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to look for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 need an investment of loan, time and expertise.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site through chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has engaged with in fact understood the fine workings of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after several concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosted Email
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly because their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). But they appear 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 indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security essentials are fairly uncomplicated:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something happens. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted customers who have actually been. It’s aggravating, laborious & a normally expensive circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Web Hosted Email
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both which enable more storage & more visits (ie, basically as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k gos to per month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & 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 regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole 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 personal or developer time fixing problems.
Essentially, if your time is better allocated far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Hosted Email
Like I stated 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 procedure, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev constructs the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that process occur. The phone support is an essential factor, especially having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on launching a near-complete site all at once.
They do not have any prior habits or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, numerous of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Hosted Email
WP Engine excels not just on current features however also on producing new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented new designer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web development best practices have actually changed drastically considering that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web advancement to incorporate finest practices into execution & projects with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many stand because they simply aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some consumers. I do not utilize them for this website because I do not require a number of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosted Email
All that said, here are some of the larger picture disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be rather complicated– especially if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can result in some developers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website open up to the public or merely not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice customers than they currently do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the general user. Web Hosted Email
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to see that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (when you surpass the learning curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site checklists to assist repair 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.
Again– they have reasons that they do all this. And most of the times, support will just take care of all of it.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Hosted Email
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is also 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; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or very real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit more to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for excellent reasons, however those restrictions restrict adaptability and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured enables less flexibility too. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based on a number of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or just wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to aspect additional 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 handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Service. And this point goes even more if your website requires many plugins for complete functionality.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot actually do automated email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for performance & not needing to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you actually don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Web Hosted Email
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even consist of a lot of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t use them to expand the expense of your strategy,particularly 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 & serve up your site files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, especially compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, but exactly what is best for you based upon your goals, spending plan, resources & routines.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use an excellent service with a strong product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to stress over hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you consider their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more liberty/ much better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Web Hosted Email