WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Hardware
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first business to supply handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Hosting Hardware
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, 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 brief version: 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 then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher rate 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 different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as a whole, they all take on traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it’s important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, generally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a various technique. 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 “finest fit” for. Web Hosting Hardware
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different tasks considering that 2012. I don’t use them for my main sites today (see conclusion), however I do have a present client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer service.” 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 Hardware
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your website is, the more complicated the options to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a few basic plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
However a sluggish site does not imply that you require a larger, better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying 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 big enough when you may just have to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to remain fast as you grow. There are plenty of services … 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 issues. They have actually customized servers with very aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and recognize the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Web Hosting Hardware
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough information to start packing the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right from the box, and have it stay that way no matter how big or intricate the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services considering that you are complimentary to focus on speed elements that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an incorporated CDN, but they also offer worldwide information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Hardware
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Hardware
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to place a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very 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 since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard thing about consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is because they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to look for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need an investment of money, time and knowledge.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing much better hitting all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually communicated with in fact knew the great functions of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of several issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Hardware
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly due to the fact that their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the downsides). But they seem to know that support is core to their value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that although 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 don’t lock it, keeping your site safe 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 & ready to roll back if something takes place. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a lot of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have helped customers who have been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a typically expensive circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Web Hosting Hardware
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both which allow for more storage & more gos to (ie, basically as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly charge right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost 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 individual or designer time fixing concerns.
Generally, if your time is better allocated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Hosting Hardware
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable 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 very first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a crucial factor, particularly being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a startup site owner that has the budget 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 launching a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any prior practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make promises and offer support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Hosting Hardware
WP Engine stands out not only on existing features however likewise on creating new, innovative hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented new designer functions that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even basic web development finest practices have actually altered radically considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to incorporate finest practices into application & jobs 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And lots of are valid because they merely aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some customers. I don’t utilize them for this site because I do not need a number of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Hardware
All that stated, here are some of the larger picture drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be quite complicated– particularly if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can lead to some developers making errors ranging from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev site open up to the public or simply not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice consumers than they currently do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe finest practice for the general user. Web Hosting Hardware
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to enjoy that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (once you surpass the learning curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of site lists 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.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply look after all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Hosting Hardware
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really real physical limitations), but 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 pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for excellent reasons, however those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured enables less adaptability as well. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s also costly to pay based upon a number of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to factor additional hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Service. And this point goes even more if your website needs many plugins for full functionality.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you can’t really do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another email service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not having to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the features you’re getting, you actually 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 visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Hosting Hardware
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” site owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out previously that does not even consist of many of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits requires extra costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to expand the expense of your strategy,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are planning to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is an expensive option, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest total, however what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a strong product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to stress over hosting problems.
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 guarantee. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more freedom/ much better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer support.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Web Hosting Hardware