WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting New Zealand Comparison
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to provide managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Hosting New Zealand Comparison
While they have a lot 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 growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all vary in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions 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. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is very important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a different approach. This review 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 New Zealand Comparison
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different projects considering that 2012. I don’t use them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present client on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies pointed out. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying client or specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 New Zealand Comparison
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, but the guideline is that the more complex your site is, the more complex the options to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text site with a few fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with an economical shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a slow website doesn’t mean that you require a larger, better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, however sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply have to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to stay fast as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … but either you or a developer need to implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have tailored servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress set up and determine the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Hosting New Zealand Comparison
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs because they have such a personalized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional 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 begin loading the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that method no matter how big or complicated the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services since you are totally free to focus on speed elements that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, but they likewise offer international data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting New Zealand Comparison
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting New Zealand Comparison
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard aspect of customer 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 mention in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to look for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three require an investment of money, time and know-how.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the site through 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 really understood the great functions of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, however he had the ability to expertly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after a number of issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting New Zealand Comparison
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly because their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). However they seem to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the needed investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & testing 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 utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that although 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 site protected 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 whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something happens. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a lot of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise 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), but have helped customers who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a typically pricey situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Web Hosting New Zealand Comparison
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not low-cost. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both which allow for more storage & more gos to (ie, generally as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k check outs per month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is amazing.
Just 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 entire regular monthly charge right there.
If you lose any sees 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 use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time fixing issues.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Hosting New Zealand Comparison
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first customer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on advancement & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing site owner who is irritated at having to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure take place. The phone support is an essential aspect, specifically being able to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a startup website owner that has the budget and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any previous habits or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, consumers, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, a lot of of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Hosting New Zealand Comparison
WP Engine excels not only on current functions but likewise on creating new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new developer features that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have changed radically given that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web development to incorporate finest practices into execution & jobs 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 best fit for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And numerous stand due to the fact that they simply aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some consumers. I do not utilize them for this website since I do not need many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting New Zealand Comparison
All that said, here are a few of the bigger picture downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they guarantee, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be quite complicated– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the special backend can cause some developers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open up to the public or merely not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they already do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the basic user. Web Hosting New Zealand Comparison
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve established my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to view that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a substantial offer (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website checklists to assist 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.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in most cases, 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 get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Hosting New Zealand Comparison
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or very real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit further to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage rates to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for great factors, but those restrictions restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled 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 pricing is structured enables less versatility also. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also pricey to pay based on a number of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element additional hosting bills 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 an Individual or Company. And this point goes further if your website requires lots of plugins for full performance.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you can’t truly do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for efficiency & not needing to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based upon the functions you’re getting, you truly don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and typically visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Hosting New Zealand Comparison
Numerous shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) dealt with 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 deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count check outs, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed earlier that does not even consist of many of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the cost. You can’t use them to spread out the cost of your plan,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are looking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is finest general, but what is finest for you based on your objectives, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a great service with a strong product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to stress over hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see what you think about their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more flexibility/ much better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve valued 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 test. I put all these elements into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Web Hosting New Zealand Comparison