WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting La Gi
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to provide managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Hosting La Gi
While they have lots of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and advanced functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing location.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all vary in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers 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 site material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as an entire, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it’s important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine reviews online, usually with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great however I take a different technique. This evaluation will take a 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 La Gi
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous tasks because 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), however I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies discussed. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular 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 La Gi
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, but the general rule is that the more complex your website is, the more intricate the solutions to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text website with a few standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with an affordable shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually extra plugins, custom theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
But a slow site doesn’t suggest that you require a larger, much better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, however in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture 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, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires aid to stay quick as you grow. There are plenty of options … but either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually tailored servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and identify the precise chokepoint to get your website moving. Web Hosting La Gi
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs because they have such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin filling the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right out of package, and have it remain that method no matter how huge or complex the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are complimentary to concentrate on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, however they likewise provide worldwide data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting La Gi
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting La Gi
Client support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position 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 business has actually grown & changed 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 hard thing about consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never 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 review, the fundamental part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to search for access, systems, and understanding, all 3 need an investment of money, time and knowledge.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They keep a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, 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 understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has engaged with actually knew the great 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 client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after several issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting La Gi
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly because their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). However they appear to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security essentials are fairly uncomplicated:
- 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 discover that despite the fact that security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility 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 & prepared to roll back if something happens. Given that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a lot of security concerns internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have helped clients who have been. It’s aggravating, laborious & a normally expensive circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Web Hosting La Gi
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, dependable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same rate 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 which permit more storage & more gos to (ie, generally as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have actually had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes on a monthly basis. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time fixing issues.
Generally, if your time is better allocated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Hosting La Gi
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first client type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to concentrate on advancement & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing fundamental website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating 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 handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that process occur. The phone support is a crucial factor, especially being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a start-up website owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and intend on introducing a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any prior practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, a lot of of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this review revision. Web Hosting La Gi
WP Engine stands out not just on present features however also on producing brand-new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new designer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have altered significantly considering that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to incorporate best practices into application & projects with designers.
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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous stand because they simply aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent suitable for some consumers. I do not use them for this site because I do not need a number of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting La Gi
All that said, here are some of the bigger photo drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite made complex– particularly if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they likewise don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the unique backend can cause some developers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site available to the public or just not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they currently do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe best practice for the general user. Web Hosting La Gi
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to watch that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (as soon as you surpass the learning curve). However for a lot of, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website checklists to help fix all sorts of issues.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And in most cases, support will just look after all of it.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Hosting La Gi
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to decreasing & increasing intricacy.
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 rather consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban particular plugins & admin habits for great reasons, however those bans limit flexibility and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller 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 versatile and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured permits less adaptability as well. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also costly to pay based upon a number of gos to.
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 have to factor additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website 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 requires numerous plugins for complete performance.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you cannot truly do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another email 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 too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the features you’re getting, you really don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Hosting La Gi
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) managed more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out previously that does not even include a lot of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs additional expenses & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your strategy,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest overall, but what is finest for you based upon your objectives, budget, resources & practices.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use an excellent service with a strong item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to stress over hosting problems.
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. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more freedom/ much better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Web Hosting La Gi