WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting On Aws
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services supplied. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing 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 higher cost point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as an entire, they all compete with standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is necessary to understand prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, normally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a different approach. This evaluation will take a 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 On Aws
I have actually used WP Engine for numerous jobs given that 2012. I don’t use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer 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 On Aws
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, however the general rule is that the more complex your site is, the more complicated the options to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a couple of basic plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s generally additional plugins, custom-made style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
However a sluggish website does not indicate that you need a larger, much better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to remain quick as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … however either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have personalized servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the precise chokepoint to get your website moving. Web Hosting On Aws
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs because they have such a customized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough information to start loading the page.
It’s great to have that sort of speed right out of package, and have it remain that way no matter how big or complex the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are totally free to focus on speed factors that you can easily control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an incorporated CDN, however they also offer worldwide information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting On Aws
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting On Aws
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has actually grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard aspect of customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never know if the story is since they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting review, the important part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I like to try to find gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 need a financial investment of money, time and knowledge.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the site through chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually engaged with actually knew the great operations of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of a number of issues (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting On Aws
I make sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,especially because their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). However they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely 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 community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security essentials are fairly 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 utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that despite the fact that security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something takes place. Because you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a lot of security problems internationally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it free of charge.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped customers who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tedious & an usually expensive situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Web Hosting On Aws
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, dependable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning 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 deal with) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k check outs each month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is incredible.
Just 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 month-to-month fee right there.
If you lose any sees 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 area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or designer time repairing issues.
Basically, if your time is much better assigned far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Hosting On Aws
Like I said at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first customer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to concentrate on development & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget plan. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases 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 requirement for a continuous standard site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is an essential element, especially being able to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third consumer type is a startup site owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on releasing a near-complete site all at once.
They don’t have any previous routines or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make pledges and provide support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, numerous of the improvements 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 advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Hosting On Aws
WP Engine excels not just on current functions but also on producing brand-new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented new developer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually changed significantly because I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I know enough web development to integrate best practices into application & projects with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best fit for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And lots of are valid because they simply aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some consumers. I do not utilize them for this website because I do not need many of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting On Aws
All that stated, here are a few of the larger image drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which difference can be rather complicated– specifically if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the special backend can result in some designers making mistakes ranging from irritating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website open up to the public or simply not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice consumers than they currently do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never explain best practice for the basic user. Web Hosting On Aws
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to enjoy 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 really going to be a huge offer (once you get past the knowing curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to find out very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website checklists to help fix all sorts of issues.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically don’t have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Hosting On Aws
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of lowering & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do ban particular plugins & admin behavior for excellent reasons, but those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured enables less adaptability too. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise pricey to pay based on a variety of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element additional 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 permit on a Personal or Service. And this point goes further if your site requires numerous plugins for complete functionality.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
In addition, you can’t truly do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up having to do an agonizing migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for performance & not having to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the features you’re getting, you truly do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually logging in frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Hosting On Aws
Many shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (operating on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that doesn’t even include a number of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the cost. You cannot use them to expand the cost of your plan,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, however exactly what is finest for you based on your objectives, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a strong item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to fret about hosting issues.
If managed 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 set up and see exactly what you think about their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your existing host & want more freedom/ better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Web Hosting On Aws