WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Landing Page
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to offer handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Hosting Landing Page
While they have plenty of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous ways -and they have broad name recognition and innovative functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has become a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all vary in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater rate 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 various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as an entire, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is necessary to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a various technique. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Hosting Landing Page
I have actually used WP Engine for various jobs considering that 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a present client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies discussed. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” 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 Landing Page
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, however the guideline is that the more complicated your website is, the more complex the options to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text site with a few standard plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
But a slow site does not suggest that you need a larger, much better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might 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 assistance to stay fast as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … however either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have actually tailored servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and determine the exact chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Web Hosting Landing Page
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs since they have such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind 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 kind of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that way no matter how big or intricate the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are complimentary to focus on speed factors that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an integrated CDN, but they likewise offer international data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Landing Page
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Landing Page
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to put a big emphasis 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 tough aspect of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever know if the story is since they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company treats support as an investment or a cost.
I prefer to try to find gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need a financial investment of money, time and know-how.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the website by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually interacted with actually understood the great operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly help us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Landing Page
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially because their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). But they appear to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a very large 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 industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that despite the fact that security on WordPress is uncomplicated, 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 website secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something occurs. Considering that you technically have an “set up” 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 carefully with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have actually assisted clients who have been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a normally pricey situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Web Hosting Landing Page
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just up to 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both which allow for more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k check outs per month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens 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 thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s entire 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 might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time fixing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is better assigned far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Hosting Landing Page
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on development & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd client type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that process occur. The phone support is a crucial factor, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on launching a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any previous practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, consumers, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, many of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this review revision. Web Hosting Landing Page
WP Engine excels not just on present functions but likewise on producing brand-new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new designer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have changed drastically considering that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web development to incorporate best practices into implementation & tasks 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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And numerous stand due to the fact that 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 fit for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this site due to the fact that I do not require many of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Landing Page
All that said, here are some of the bigger photo disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which distinction can be quite complicated– particularly if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the special backend can cause some designers making errors ranging from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website open to the general public or just not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they currently do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever describe finest practice for the basic user. Web Hosting Landing Page
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to view that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (once you get past the learning curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of site checklists to assist troubleshoot 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.
Again– they have reasons that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just take care of everything.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Hosting Landing Page
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise 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 very genuine physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit more to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin habits for excellent reasons, however those bans limit flexibility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured permits less versatility too. It’s a positive that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise pricey to pay based on a variety of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll have to element extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible 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 Company. And this point goes further if your site needs lots of plugins for full functionality.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are planning to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t actually do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & ended up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for performance & not needing to believe excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the features you’re getting, you really do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Web Hosting Landing Page
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with fundamental caching) dealt with more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can definitely deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even consist of a number of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits requires additional costs & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the rate. You can’t utilize them to expand the cost of your plan,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, but what is finest for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a fantastic service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to fret about hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see exactly what you consider their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more flexibility/ much better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer support.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Web Hosting Landing Page