WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Near Me
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to offer handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Hosting Near Me
While they have a lot of competition in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting market has become a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all differ in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater cost 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 alternatives, but as a whole, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it’s important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, normally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a different technique. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Hosting Near Me
I have actually used WP Engine for various jobs given that 2012. I do not use them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), however I do have a current client on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, effective 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 Near Me
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, however the general rule is that the more complex your site is, the more intricate the services to speed ended up being.
Out of the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a few fundamental plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting plan 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, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, forms and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
But a slow website does not mean that you need a larger, better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but sometimes it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might 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 needs assistance to stay quick as you grow. There are lots of options … but either you or a designer should implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have actually customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and determine the specific chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Hosting Near Me
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, 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 quickly the server returned enough data to begin loading the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that method no matter how big or complicated the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services given that you are free to focus on speed aspects that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, but they also supply worldwide information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Near Me
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Near Me
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard thing about customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is since they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all three need an investment of cash, time and knowledge.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all three boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site by means of chat.
Based on their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually interacted with really knew the fine operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of several issues (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Near Me
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly because their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). However they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is 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 releasing updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials 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 use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the duty is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, 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 occurs. Since you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a lot of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have helped clients who have been. It’s aggravating, laborious & a generally costly scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Web Hosting Near Me
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits per month.
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 with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both of which permit more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have actually had 60k gos to per month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time repairing problems.
Generally, if your time is much better designated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Hosting Near Me
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on advancement & design without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move 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 automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is a key aspect, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd client type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any previous practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make guarantees and supply support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Hosting Near Me
WP Engine excels not just on current functions however likewise on producing new, innovative hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have altered drastically considering that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know enough web development to integrate best practices into execution & tasks 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many are valid since they just aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some customers. I do not utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not require much of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Near Me
All that stated, here are a few of the larger photo disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be quite complicated– especially if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely 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 developers making mistakes varying from annoying redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website open to the general public or simply not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice consumers than they already do.
Like many custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe finest practice for the general user. Web Hosting Near Me
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to enjoy that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t really going to be a huge offer (when you surpass the learning curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website lists to help 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 in many cases, support will simply take care of it all.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Hosting Near Me
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is also associated with 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 uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting business has rules (or really real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for great reasons, however those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your site might manage 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 enabled on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured enables less flexibility as well. 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 big launch; are a seasonal company; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to factor extra hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your website requires lots of plugins for complete functionality.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to use a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot truly do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up having to do a painful migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their pricing based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for efficiency & not having to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the features you’re getting, you really do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally visiting frequently), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Web Hosting Near Me
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour duration 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 gos to, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” site owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even include many of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to spread out the expense of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are looking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is a costly option, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, but what is best for you based on your goals, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more features than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not want to worry about hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more liberty/ much better rates than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer service.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Web Hosting Near Me