WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Billing Software Open Source
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to offer handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Hosting Billing Software Open Source
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services supplied. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that 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 install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is very important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, normally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a different technique. 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 “finest fit” for. Web Hosting Billing Software Open Source
I have actually used WP Engine for various jobs given that 2012. I don’t use them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current customer on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, powerful 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 Hosting Billing Software Open Source
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your site is, the more intricate the services to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text website with a few standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with a cost effective 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, custom theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
But a slow site does not imply that you need a bigger, better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain fast as you grow. There are lots of services … however either you or a developer must implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually tailored servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common web host. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and recognize the specific chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Web Hosting Billing Software Open Source
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin loading the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right from the box, and have it remain that way no matter how big or intricate the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services given that you are free to focus on speed elements 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, but they likewise offer international information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Billing Software Open Source
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Billing Software Open Source
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & altered 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 hard feature of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never know if the story is since they talked to 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 company treats support as an investment or an expense.
I want to try to find access, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of money, time and competence.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all three boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the website via chat.
Based on their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually engaged with really understood the fine workings of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of numerous problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Billing Software Open Source
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly because their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a very large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security basics 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site secure is still ultimately 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 everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something takes place. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a great deal of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have helped clients who have been. It’s discouraging, tedious & a generally pricey situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Web Hosting Billing Software Open Source
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both which allow for more storage & more visits (ie, generally as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time repairing concerns.
Generally, if your time is much better assigned far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Hosting Billing Software Open Source
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have 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 & client support to make that process happen. The phone support is a crucial aspect, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third consumer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on introducing a near-complete site at one time.
They do not have any previous habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this review revision. Web Hosting Billing Software Open Source
WP Engine excels not just on existing functions but also on producing new, advanced hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have actually changed radically since I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to integrate best practices into implementation & tasks with designers.
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 best fit for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And numerous stand due to the fact that they just aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some clients. I don’t use them for this site due to the fact that I do not need many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Billing Software Open Source
All that stated, here are a few of the larger picture downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be quite complicated– particularly if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the unique backend can cause some developers making mistakes varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website open up to the public or simply not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they currently do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the basic user. Web Hosting Billing Software Open Source
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to watch that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (once you get past the learning curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of site lists to assist fix 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 why they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just take care of it all.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Hosting Billing Software Open Source
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or extremely real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit further to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for good reasons, however those restrictions restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured permits less flexibility as well. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s also costly to pay based on a number of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to aspect 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 site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes further if your site needs lots of plugins for complete performance.
The exact 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.
In addition, you can’t truly do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up needing to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending for efficiency & not having to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Web Hosting Billing Software Open Source
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even include many of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs extra expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot use them to expand the expense of your plan,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are wanting to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a pricey option, especially compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, however exactly what is best for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a fantastic service with a strong item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to stress over hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see exactly what you think of their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more liberty/ better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Web Hosting Billing Software Open Source