WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Business For Sale
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first business to supply handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Hosting Business For Sale
While they have lots of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all vary in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal 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 purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the site 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 options, however as an entire, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is essential to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, generally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a various approach. This evaluation will 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 Hosting Business For Sale
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various jobs because 2012. I don’t use them for my main websites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” Here is their promo 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 Business For Sale
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your website is, the more complicated the solutions to speed become.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a few fundamental plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically additional plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these features integrated with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a slow site does not mean that you require a larger, better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, but in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might just need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to stay quickly as you grow. There are plenty of services … however either you or a developer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Web Hosting Business For Sale
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers 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 measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin packing the page.
Now here is the speed test of a standard WordPress install. WP Engine not only gets solid TTFB times however keep in mind how comparable the First Byte and First Render are to the Unoptimized website.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right out of 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 obsessed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services given that you are free to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an integrated CDN, however they also supply global data centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Business For Sale
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Business For Sale
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a big 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 business has 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 stated, the difficult aspect of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever know if the story is because they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or an expense.
I want to look for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three require a financial investment of loan, time and expertise.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site via chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually interacted with actually knew the great operations of WordPress and has actually been able 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 throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Business For Sale
I make certain that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically since their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the downsides). But they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security essentials are relatively simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still eventually 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. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have helped clients who have been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a typically expensive situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Web Hosting Business For Sale
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 per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both of which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, essentially as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is remarkable.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire 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 could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time fixing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is much better allocated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Hosting Business For Sale
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process occur. The phone support is a crucial factor, especially being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a startup website owner that has the budget and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on introducing a near-complete site at one time.
They don’t have any previous routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, so many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this review modification. Web Hosting Business For Sale
WP Engine stands out not only on present features but likewise on creating new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new designer functions that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even basic web development best practices have changed radically given that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand enough web advancement to integrate best practices into execution & projects with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And lots of are valid due to the fact that they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some consumers. I do not utilize them for this site because I do not require a lot of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Business For Sale
All that said, here are a few of the larger photo drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be rather complicated– particularly if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can lead to some developers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev site open to the public or just not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they already do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever discuss finest practice for the basic user. Web Hosting Business For Sale
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to enjoy that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (once you get past the knowing curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of site lists to help troubleshoot all sorts of concerns.
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 most of the times, support will simply look after all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Hosting Business For Sale
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with 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 uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin behavior for great factors, but those restrictions limit adaptability and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured enables less flexibility as well. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also expensive to pay based upon a number of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, 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 deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your website requires many plugins for full functionality.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot truly do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail supplier 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 typically paying for performance & not needing to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the features you’re getting, you truly do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually visiting regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Web Hosting Business For Sale
Many shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) handled more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even consist of a number of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your plan,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, especially compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, however what is finest for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use an excellent service with a solid product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to fret about hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go check out 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. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more liberty/ much better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer support.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Web Hosting Business For Sale