WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Los Angeles
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to supply handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Hosting Los Angeles
While they have lots of competitors in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of alternatives, but as an entire, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
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 contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, usually with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a different 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 “finest fit” for. Web Hosting Los Angeles
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various projects since 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main sites today (see conclusion), but I do have an existing client on WP Engine who definitely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies discussed. All information & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their promo pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Web Hosting Los Angeles
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, but the general rule is that the more complicated 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 site with a couple of fundamental plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with an economical shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, forms and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a slow site doesn’t suggest that you need a bigger, better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, however often it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to transport a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may just have to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to remain quickly as you grow. There are a lot of services … however either you or a developer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Hosting Los Angeles
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have such a tailored caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, a lot of 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 start loading the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right from package, and have it stay that method no matter how big or intricate the site 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 totally free to focus on speed elements that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only provides an integrated CDN, however they likewise offer global information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Los Angeles
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Los Angeles
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they were founded. After all, they are actually offering more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a 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 difficult feature of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never know if the story is due to the fact that they talked 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 a cost.
I like to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three need an investment of cash, time and competence.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They maintain a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site by means of chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually connected with really understood the fine operations 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 customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of numerous concerns (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Los Angeles
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,especially since their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they seem to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security basics are fairly straightforward:
- 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 commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine generally takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something happens. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the assurance 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 assisted customers who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & an usually pricey situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Web Hosting Los Angeles
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which permit more storage & more visits (ie, basically as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k gos to monthly on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is fantastic.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 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 entire month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging location) 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 concerns or downtime costs lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or developer time fixing concerns.
Generally, if your time is much better assigned far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Hosting Los Angeles
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first customer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on development & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, 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 a continuous basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at having to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to relocate to a much 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 occur. The phone support is a key factor, specifically having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup site owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any previous practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, many of the improvements 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 advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this review modification. Web Hosting Los Angeles
WP Engine stands out not only on present functions but also on developing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new designer features that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have actually changed drastically since I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web advancement to integrate best practices into implementation & projects 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous stand due to the fact that 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 consumers. I do not utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not require a number of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Los Angeles
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger photo drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be quite made complex– particularly if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can lead to some designers making errors ranging from frustrating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev site open to the public or merely not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more novice clients than they currently do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the basic user. Web Hosting Los Angeles
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to see that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a huge deal (when you surpass the knowing curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website checklists to help repair 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 they do all this. And in many cases, support will just look after everything.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Hosting Los Angeles
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or extremely genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin behavior for good factors, however those restrictions limit flexibility and experimentation if your website could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured permits less flexibility too. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise expensive to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to aspect extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish 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 Business. And this point goes even more if your site needs many plugins for full performance.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are aiming to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t truly do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are usually paying for performance & not needing to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and normally visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Hosting Los Angeles
Many shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (running on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 sees in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even consist of many of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You can’t use them to expand the cost of your strategy,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are seeking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a costly option, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best total, but what is finest for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide 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 unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to stress over hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you think of their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & desire more flexibility/ much better prices than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer service.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Web Hosting Los Angeles