WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Business Startup
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to provide handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Hosting Business Startup
While they have a lot of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides 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 alternatives, however as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is very important to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but 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 Business Startup
I have actually utilized WP Engine for various jobs considering that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main websites today (see conclusion), however I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies discussed. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 Business Startup
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, however the guideline is that the more intricate your site is, the more complicated the options to speed become.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a few standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally extra plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
But a sluggish website does not mean that you need a larger, better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, however in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to stay quick as you grow. There are lots of solutions … but either you or a designer must execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually personalized servers with very aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and recognize the exact chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Web Hosting Business Startup
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a tailored caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well 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 theme, additional scripts, too many 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 packing the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right out of package, and have it stay that way no matter how big or complicated the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services since you are totally free to focus on speed aspects that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an incorporated CDN, however they also provide international data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Business Startup
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 Startup
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among 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 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 tough feature of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is because they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or a cost.
I like to try to find gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 need a financial investment of money, time and know-how.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all three boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site via chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually communicated with in fact knew the great operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to expertly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Business Startup
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially because their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). However they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, 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 utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that although security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site protected 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 & prepared to roll back if something happens. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a lot of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have helped clients who have been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & a generally costly scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Web Hosting Business Startup
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which enable more storage & more check outs (ie, essentially as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 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 month-to-month fee 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 website down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time repairing issues.
Basically, if your time is much better designated away from technical concerns, 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 an investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Hosting Business Startup
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first client type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on development & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at having to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a key element, especially having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s special backend and plan on introducing 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, customers, and support that they can make promises and offer support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, numerous of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Hosting Business Startup
WP Engine excels not just on present functions but also on developing brand-new, innovative hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have altered significantly because I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to integrate 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And numerous stand because they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some clients. I don’t utilize them for this site since I do not need much of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Business Startup
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger picture disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be rather complicated– especially if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the distinct backend can result in some designers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website available to the public or just not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never describe best practice for the general user. Web Hosting Business Startup
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to view that video multiple 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 custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a huge deal (when you surpass the learning curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of website lists to assist 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 they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply take care of all of it.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t 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 are familiar. Web Hosting Business Startup
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or extremely real physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, however those restrictions restrict versatility and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured allows for less adaptability also. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s also expensive to pay based on a number of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor additional hosting bills 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 allow on a Personal or Service. And this point goes even more if your website needs many plugins for full performance.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t truly do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for efficiency & not having to believe too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Hosting Business Startup
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can definitely handle 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” site owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even include many of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email 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 limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your plan,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, especially compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best total, but what is finest for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a terrific service with a solid item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to worry about hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you think about their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more freedom/ much better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer support.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Web Hosting Business Startup