WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Jokes
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to provide handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Hosting Jokes
While they have lots of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all differ in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides 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 + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, however as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is necessary to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, typically with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a different approach. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Hosting Jokes
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various jobs considering that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main sites today (see conclusion), however I do have a present client on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their discount pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Web Hosting Jokes
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complicated your site is, the more intricate the options to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text website with a few standard plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually extra plugins, custom theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a slow website doesn’t imply that you need a larger, much better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but often it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain quickly as you grow. There are lots of solutions … but either you or a designer must execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have customized servers with very aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Hosting Jokes
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs because they have such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients 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 determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to start packing the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right from package, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or complicated the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are free to concentrate on speed elements that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an incorporated CDN, but they also offer worldwide information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Jokes
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Jokes
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the difficult feature of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never understand if the story is since 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 treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require a financial investment of loan, time and know-how.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all three boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually connected with in fact knew the great functions of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Jokes
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically because their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). However they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But 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 huge neighborhood releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security basics 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 utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that despite the fact that 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 secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Considering that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a great deal of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped clients who have been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a normally pricey situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Web Hosting Jokes
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both which allow for more storage & more sees (ie, basically as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing downside in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes monthly. 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 check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time repairing concerns.
Basically, if your time is much better allocated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Hosting Jokes
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first customer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on advancement & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev constructs the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous fundamental site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that process take place. The phone support is an essential element, specifically having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on launching a near-complete site at one time.
They do not have any prior 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 promises and provide support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, numerous of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Hosting Jokes
WP Engine stands out not only on existing functions but also on producing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new designer features that WP Engine has been able to incorporate.
Even basic web development finest practices have actually changed significantly considering that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know enough web development to integrate finest practices into execution & jobs 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And many are valid because they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some customers. I do not use them for this website since I do not need a lot of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Jokes
All that stated, here are a few of the larger photo drawbacks 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 quite complicated– particularly if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the distinct backend can cause some designers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site available to the public or just not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they currently do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never discuss best practice for the general user. Web Hosting Jokes
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to view 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 customized backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (as soon as you get past the learning curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of site checklists to help troubleshoot 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.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply look after it all.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Hosting Jokes
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of lowering & increasing complexity.
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 need to be somewhat consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or extremely real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for great reasons, however those bans limit versatility and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured permits less versatility also. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise costly to pay based on a number of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to aspect extra 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 handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Organisation. And this point goes further if your site needs lots of plugins for full functionality.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot really do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up needing to do a painful migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for performance & not needing to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based on the functions you’re getting, you truly do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Web Hosting Jokes
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental 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 reliable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even consist of a number of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs additional costs & technical application 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 sites, you have to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,particularly 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 & dish out your website files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, but what is best for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a terrific service with a strong product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to fret about hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go have 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 consider their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more liberty/ better prices than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Web Hosting Jokes