WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Home
While they have a lot of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many ways -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing location.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all differ in services offered. Some simply 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 really buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as a whole, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is necessary to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a various approach. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Hosting Home
I’ve used WP Engine for different jobs since 2012. I don’t use them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or expert 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 assure “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Home
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, but the guideline is that the more intricate your website is, the more complex the options to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text website with a couple of basic plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally extra plugins, customized style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site does not indicate that you need a bigger, better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to haul 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 may simply need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of services … however either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have actually personalized servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the exact chokepoint to get your website moving. Web Hosting Home
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin loading the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right from package, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or complicated the site gets.
*Keep in mind 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 may get with other services given that you are totally free to focus on speed aspects that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an integrated CDN, however they likewise supply worldwide information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Home
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
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my 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 & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard thing about customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never understand if the story is due to the fact that they spoke 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 company deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to search for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need a financial investment of loan, time and proficiency.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the website by means of chat.
Based on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has engaged with actually knew the great operations of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several problems (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Home
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially due to the fact that their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they appear to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals are fairly simple:
- 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 commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something occurs. Since you technically have an “install” 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 leading security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have helped customers who have actually been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a generally expensive circumstance (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Web Hosting Home
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, basically as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole month-to-month fee right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or designer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is better designated away from technical problems, 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 rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Hosting Home
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first consumer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on advancement & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is a crucial factor, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a start-up site owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on launching a near-complete site simultaneously.
They do not have any prior practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make promises and provide support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, numerous of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Hosting Home
WP Engine stands out not just on existing features but likewise on creating brand-new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new designer functions that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even basic web development best practices have altered significantly since I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web advancement to incorporate best practices into implementation & tasks 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 fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And many stand since they merely aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some consumers. I do not utilize them for this website because I do not need a number of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Home
All that said, here are a few of the larger image drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be quite complicated– specifically if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the distinct backend can lead to some designers making mistakes ranging from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site open up to the public or simply not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more novice consumers than they already do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever explain best practice for the general user. Web Hosting Home
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to watch that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a big deal (as soon as you surpass the learning curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of site lists to help repair 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.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And in many cases, support will just look after all of it.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous 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
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or very genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit more to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin habits for excellent reasons, but those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. 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 allows for less adaptability also. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send, but it’s also costly to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to aspect extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Company. And this point goes even more if your site requires numerous plugins for full performance.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot truly do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for efficiency & not having to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Web Hosting Home
Many shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even include many of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, especially compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best total, however exactly what is finest for you based on your goals, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a fantastic service with a solid product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to fret about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see exactly what you think of their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more freedom/ much better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive 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 aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Web Hosting Home