WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Home Page
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to supply handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Hosting Home Page
While they have lots of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief variation: They all differ in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + 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 customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is necessary to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a different method. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Hosting Home Page
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different tasks since 2012. I don’t use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying client or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Home Page
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, but the general rule 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 mainly text website with a few basic plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with an economical shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally extra plugins, customized style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
But a slow site doesn’t indicate that you need a bigger, much better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might just need to eliminate the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to remain quickly as you grow. There are plenty of services … however either you or a developer should implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually customized servers with very aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common web host. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and recognize the exact chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Web Hosting Home Page
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up 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 bloated style, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough information to start filling the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right from package, and have it remain that way no matter how big or intricate the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services since you are complimentary to concentrate on speed factors that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an integrated CDN, however they also supply global data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Home Page
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Home Page
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. 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 emphasis 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 business has actually grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard thing about consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never understand if the story is because they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 require a financial investment of loan, time and competence.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing much better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the site via chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually engaged with actually understood the great workings of WordPress and has been able 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 throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after a number of concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Home Page
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly since their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). However they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required financial 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 absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security fundamentals 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 utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a great deal of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually helped customers who have been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & a generally expensive situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Web Hosting Home Page
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more visits (ie, basically as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes on a monthly basis. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly 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 could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time repairing issues.
Basically, if your time is better allocated far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Hosting Home Page
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first customer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a key aspect, especially being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third customer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on launching a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any previous practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make promises and offer support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Hosting Home Page
WP Engine stands out not only on present features but likewise on creating brand-new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually altered significantly because I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know adequate web development to integrate finest practices into application & projects with developers.
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 very best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And many stand since they just aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some customers. I don’t utilize them for this site because I do not need much of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Home Page
All that said, here are a few of the larger picture drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be rather made complex– especially if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can lead to some developers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev site available to the public or just not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they already do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never explain best practice for the general user. Web Hosting Home Page
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to customized 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 ideal IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (when you get past the learning curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to discover 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 site checklists to help troubleshoot all sorts of concerns.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Hosting Home Page
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to define what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin behavior for excellent factors, however those restrictions limit versatility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured enables less versatility too. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also pricey to pay based on a number of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on a Personal or Company. And this point goes even more if your site requires numerous plugins for full performance.
The very same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you can’t truly do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for efficiency & 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 do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Web Hosting Home Page
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) handled more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out earlier that does not even consist of many 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 limitations needs extra expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the cost. You cannot utilize them to spread out the expense of your plan,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 a costly alternative, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, but what is best for you based upon your objectives, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a great service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to stress over hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you think of their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more freedom/ better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Web Hosting Home Page