WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Humor
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to offer handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Hosting Humor
While they have plenty of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name recognition and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all differ in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not truly purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as an entire, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it’s important to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a various 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 Humor
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different jobs because 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business discussed. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, 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 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 Humor
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, however the guideline is that the more complex your site is, the more complicated the options to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text website with a few standard plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with an economical shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom-made style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these functions integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
However a slow website does not indicate that you require a bigger, much better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might just need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to remain fast as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … but either you or a designer need to 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 exceptionally aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a common web host. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and determine the precise chokepoint to get your site moving. Web Hosting Humor
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional 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 information to start packing the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right out of 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 consumed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services given that you are complimentary to concentrate on speed aspects that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, but they also offer global data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Humor
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Humor
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough thing about consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never know 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 evaluation, the important part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to look for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need a financial investment of loan, time and competence.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has communicated with in fact understood the great functions of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Humor
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly because their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the downsides). But they seem to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a huge neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security essentials are relatively 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that although security on WordPress is simple, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have actually assisted clients who have been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a generally expensive scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Web Hosting Humor
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both which enable more storage & more visits (ie, basically as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run lots of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & 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 monthly charge right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or designer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is better assigned far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Hosting Humor
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first client type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at needing to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process occur. The phone support is a crucial element, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a startup website owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s special backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website at one time.
They don’t have any previous practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of customers, 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 performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Hosting Humor
WP Engine stands out not only on existing functions but likewise on developing new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have changed significantly since I started observing the market *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to integrate finest practices into application & jobs with designers.
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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And lots of stand due to the fact that they just aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some customers. I do not utilize them for this site since I do not require much of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Humor
All that stated, here are some of the bigger photo downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be quite complicated– particularly if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can cause some developers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website available to the public or merely not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they currently do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever describe best practice for the basic user. Web Hosting Humor
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to enjoy that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a huge deal (when you get past the learning curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of site checklists to help repair 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 in many cases, support will just take care of all of it.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Hosting Humor
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin behavior for good factors, but those restrictions limit versatility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured permits less adaptability as well. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, however it’s also costly to pay based on a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to factor additional hosting bills 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 allow on an Individual or Service. And this point goes further if your website needs many plugins for full performance.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you cannot truly do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up needing to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually spending for efficiency & not needing to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually logging in regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Hosting Humor
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 per month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that doesn’t even consist of a lot of the functions you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits needs extra costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your plan,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best total, but exactly what is finest for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a fantastic service with a solid item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to stress over hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see what you think of their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more flexibility/ better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer care.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Web Hosting Humor