WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Jury
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all vary in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, but 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 website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as a whole, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is necessary to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a various method. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Hosting Jury
I’ve utilized WP Engine for numerous projects because 2012. I do not use them for my main sites today (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business discussed. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or specialist to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular 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 Jury
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, however the general rule is that the more intricate your website is, the more complex the services to speed become.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally extra plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish site doesn’t imply that you require a larger, better server. It does imply that you have 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. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may just need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of services … but either you or a designer must execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have customized servers with very 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 identify the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Web Hosting Jury
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to begin packing the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right from package, and have it remain that way no matter how big or complicated the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services given that you are free to focus on speed elements that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just provides an integrated CDN, however they likewise offer global data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Jury
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Jury
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a huge 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 ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough feature of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever know if the story is because they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or an expense.
I want to look for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three need an investment of cash, time and competence.
Based upon my current 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 quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the site via chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has connected with actually knew the fine functions of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of several issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Jury
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly due to the fact that their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). But they appear to know that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge community releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially 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 happens. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a great deal of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise 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 assisted clients who have been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a generally expensive circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Web Hosting Jury
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single install and just up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same cost 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 monthly.
Both which permit more storage & more gos to (ie, generally as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k check outs 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 prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your very own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is amazing.
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 month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge 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 regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or designer time repairing problems.
Generally, if your time is better allocated away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Hosting Jury
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on advancement & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is an essential factor, particularly being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on releasing a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any previous habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, so 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 resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Hosting Jury
WP Engine stands out not only on current features however likewise on creating new, innovative hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web development best practices have changed drastically considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to incorporate best practices into application & 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous are valid because they just aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some customers. I don’t utilize them for this site due to the fact that I do not require many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Jury
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 promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be rather complicated– particularly if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the unique backend can result in some developers making mistakes varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open up to the general public or simply not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they already do.
Like lots of custom-made 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 describe finest practice for the general user. Web Hosting Jury
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to see that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a big deal (when you surpass the learning curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad 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.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply take care of it all.
However, 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 handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Hosting Jury
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s unique setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin behavior for great reasons, but those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sized sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However 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 versatility as well. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also expensive to pay based on a number of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to aspect extra hosting expenses 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 enable on a Personal or Service. And this point goes further if your website needs numerous plugins for full functionality.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying 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 automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for performance & not having to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the features you’re getting, you truly do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Hosting Jury
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (working on a shared hosting strategy 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 reliable VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as mentioned previously that doesn’t even consist of many of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits 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 tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the cost. You can’t use them to spread out the expense of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are planning to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your site files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest total, however exactly what is best for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use an excellent service with a strong product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to fret about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see what you consider their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more liberty/ better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Web Hosting Jury