WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Gator
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 particularly for WordPress. Web Hosting Gator
While they have plenty of competition in both the general 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 development of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all vary in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + 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 standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is necessary to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine however I take a different technique. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Hosting Gator
I have actually utilized WP Engine for numerous jobs because 2012. I do not use them for my main sites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Hosting Gator
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, however the guideline is that the more intricate your website is, the more complicated the options to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text site with a few fundamental plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically additional plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
But a sluggish website does not imply that you require a bigger, much better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may just need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to stay quick as you grow. There are lots of services … however either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Hosting Gator
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, 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 information to begin packing the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right from package, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or intricate the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are free to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an incorporated CDN, but they also offer international information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Gator
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Gator
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a huge focus 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 business has grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard thing about client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but 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 business treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I prefer to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all three need an investment of loan, time and expertise.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site via chat.
Based on their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually connected with in fact understood the fine functions of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Gator
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 disadvantages). But they appear 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.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a very large community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, 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 discover that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something happens. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a great deal of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted clients who have been. It’s frustrating, tedious & an usually costly situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Web Hosting Gator
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same rate 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 per month.
Both which allow for more storage & more visits (ie, basically as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or developer time fixing concerns.
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 handled 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 concentrate on their core markets. Web Hosting Gator
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears to be a fit 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 wish to focus on development & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at having to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that process occur. The phone support is an essential aspect, particularly having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a start-up site owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s special backend and intend on introducing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They don’t have any previous habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, numerous of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Hosting Gator
WP Engine stands out not only on current functions however also on developing new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have changed radically since I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to integrate finest practices into implementation & tasks 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous are valid due to the fact that they just aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some clients. I do not use them for this website due to the fact that I do not require a number of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Gator
All that said, here are some of the bigger picture disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be rather made complex– particularly if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the special backend can result in some designers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website open to the public or simply not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they currently do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never explain best practice for the general user. Web Hosting Gator
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to see that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a huge deal (when you get past the learning curve). However 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 truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of site lists to assist repair 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.
Again– they have reasons that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply look after everything.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not 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, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Hosting Gator
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in regards to lowering & 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 uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban certain plugins & admin behavior for excellent factors, however those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured allows for less versatility also. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise pricey to pay based on a variety of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to aspect additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish 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 needs numerous 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 wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you can’t really do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up needing to do an agonizing migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for efficiency & not needing to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Web Hosting Gator
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that does not even include a lot of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional 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 tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to spread out the cost of your plan,especially if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest overall, but exactly what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget, resources & routines.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a terrific service with a strong item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to worry about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see exactly what you consider their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more liberty/ much better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive client service.
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 quiz to streamline things. Web Hosting Gator