WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Geeks
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all vary in services supplied. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is essential to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a various approach. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Hosting Geeks
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various projects since 2012. I don’t use them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying customer or specialist to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “stunning 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 Geeks
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more complex your website is, the more complex the services to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a few standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with an economical shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally extra plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
However a sluggish site does not mean that you need a larger, better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to transport a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might just need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to stay quick as you grow. There are lots of solutions … however either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have customized servers with extremely aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a common web host. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and identify the precise chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Hosting Geeks
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing 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 bloated theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough information to begin loading the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or intricate the site 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 since you are totally free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, but they also provide worldwide information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Geeks
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Geeks
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of 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 actually grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough thing about consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is due to the fact that they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need a financial investment of money, time and knowledge.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website through chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually engaged with in fact knew the great operations of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (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 representative was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Geeks
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,especially due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). However they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security essentials 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that despite the fact that security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically 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 occurs. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a great deal of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped customers who have been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a typically expensive scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Web Hosting Geeks
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, dependable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both of which enable more storage & more gos to (ie, basically as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation 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 monthly 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 month-to-month fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or developer time repairing issues.
Basically, if your time is much better allocated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Hosting Geeks
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first customer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous basic site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at having to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to move 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 & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is a key element, especially having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd client type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s special backend and intend on launching a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any previous routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, numerous of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this review modification. Web Hosting Geeks
WP Engine stands out not just on current features but likewise on developing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new developer features that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even general web advancement best practices have actually changed drastically given that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to integrate finest 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And numerous are valid since they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this site due to the fact that I do not need a lot of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Geeks
All that stated, here are a few of the larger photo disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be rather complicated– specifically if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the unique backend can cause some developers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site open up to the public or just not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they already do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss best practice for the general user. Web Hosting Geeks
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to watch that video several 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 customized backend isn’t really going to be a huge offer (once you get past the knowing curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site lists to assist troubleshoot all sorts of issues.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And in most cases, support will just look after everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Hosting Geeks
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods terms of lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for excellent reasons, however those restrictions limit flexibility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However 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 also. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise expensive to pay based upon a variety of check outs.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to aspect extra hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Company. And this point goes further if your site needs lots of plugins for full functionality.
The very same goes 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.
Furthermore, you cannot really do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another email company mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for performance & not needing to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Web Hosting Geeks
Many shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out earlier that does not even consist of a number of the features you do not 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 additional costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the rate. You can’t use them to expand the expense of your plan,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, especially compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest general, however exactly what is finest for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use an excellent service with a strong product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to worry about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. 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 existing host & desire more liberty/ much better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Web Hosting Geeks