WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Glossary
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to offer managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Hosting Glossary
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all vary in services supplied. 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 separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as a whole, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is necessary to comprehend before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a different method. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Hosting Glossary
I have actually used WP Engine for various projects considering that 2012. I do not utilize them for my main websites today (see conclusion), however I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or specialist to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 Glossary
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, however the general rule is that the more complicated your site is, the more complicated the services to speed become.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of fundamental plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with an economical shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally extra plugins, customized style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
However a sluggish site doesn’t suggest that you need a bigger, much better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may simply have to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to stay quickly as you grow. There are a lot of services … however either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have tailored servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Hosting Glossary
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a customized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up 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 determines how quickly the server returned enough information to begin packing the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right out of package, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or complex the website 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 concentrate on speed aspects that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, however they likewise offer international data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Glossary
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Glossary
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very 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 lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult feature of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever know 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 deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I want to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 need an investment of loan, time and competence.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website via chat.
Based on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has interacted with really knew the great operations of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of several concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Glossary
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically since their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security basics are fairly uncomplicated:
- 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 business arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that although security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something takes place. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a typically expensive situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Web Hosting Glossary
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, dependable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular 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 cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or designer time repairing problems.
Essentially, if your time is better allocated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Hosting Glossary
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first customer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous fundamental website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is an essential aspect, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup site owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on introducing a near-complete site all at once.
They do not have any prior practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this kind of client.
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 performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Hosting Glossary
WP Engine excels not just on present functions but also on developing new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out new developer features that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have actually altered drastically since I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand adequate web development 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And numerous stand 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 an excellent suitable for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this website since I do not need a number of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Glossary
All that said, here are a few of the larger picture disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be quite made complex– especially if you have simply adequate 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 traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the unique backend can lead to some developers making errors varying from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev website open up to the general public or simply not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they already do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never explain best practice for the basic user. Web Hosting Glossary
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to watch that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (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 team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website checklists to help fix all sorts of problems.
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 that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just take care of all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Hosting Glossary
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or extremely genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit more to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin behavior for excellent reasons, but those bans limit flexibility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured permits less adaptability too. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also costly to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to factor extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible 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 allow on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes further if your website needs numerous plugins for full functionality.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot actually do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for performance & not having to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the features you’re getting, you actually don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally visiting frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Web Hosting Glossary
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic 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 dependable VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even consist of a number of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your strategy,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are wanting to spend 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 choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest overall, but what is finest for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a terrific service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to worry about hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see what you consider their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more flexibility/ much better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive client service.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Web Hosting Glossary