WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Houston
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to provide handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Hosting Houston
While they have lots of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has become a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, 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 + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as an entire, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it’s important to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, usually with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but 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 “best fit” for. Web Hosting Houston
I’ve utilized WP Engine for different projects since 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying customer or specialist to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” Here is their promotion pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Web Hosting Houston
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, but the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your site is, the more complex the options to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a few fundamental plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally additional plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
But a sluggish website does not suggest that you need a bigger, much better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you may simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to stay fast as you grow. There are lots of options … however either you or a developer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually personalized servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They also have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and recognize the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Web Hosting Houston
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed 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, additional 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 loading the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complicated 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 free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, however they also offer global data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Houston
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Houston
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a big focus 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 since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult feature of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever know 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 evaluation, the important part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all three need a financial investment of loan, time and knowledge.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a range 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 through chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually communicated with actually knew the great functions of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to expertly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of numerous problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Houston
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly because their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). 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 whole Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that despite the fact that security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally 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 happens. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a great deal of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have assisted customers who have been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & a generally expensive scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Web Hosting Houston
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 monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, dependable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both of which enable more storage & more check outs (ie, essentially as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage 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 designer’s) time, their rates is incredible.
Just running WordPress updates every month & 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 fee right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time repairing concerns.
Generally, if your time is much better allocated far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Hosting Houston
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing site owner who is irritated 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 likewise developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process occur. The phone support is a key element, especially being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd client type is a startup website owner that has the budget and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s special backend and intend on launching a near-complete site simultaneously.
They do not have any previous routines 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 provide support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this review modification. Web Hosting Houston
WP Engine excels not just on current functions however likewise on producing new, innovative hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even general web development best practices have actually changed significantly since I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand enough web advancement to incorporate best practices into application & tasks 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And lots of are valid due to the fact that they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some consumers. I don’t use them for this site since I do not need much of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Houston
All that stated, here are some of the larger image disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be rather made complex– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they also do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can cause some developers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open up to the general public or merely not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they already do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss finest practice for the basic user. Web Hosting Houston
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I needed to watch that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a substantial deal (as soon as you surpass the learning curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site lists to assist 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 in many cases, support will just look after it all.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Hosting Houston
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, however those bans restrict flexibility and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured enables less flexibility too. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also expensive to pay based upon a variety of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need 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 site on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on an Individual or Business. And this point goes even more if your website requires numerous plugins for complete functionality.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you cannot actually do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not needing to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Hosting Houston
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the very 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 standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even consist of much 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 regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you have 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 instead of your set up cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a pricey option, especially compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, however exactly what is best for you based upon your goals, spending plan, resources & routines.
If you are in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a terrific service with a strong item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to stress over hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more flexibility/ better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Web Hosting Houston