WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting On Github
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first companies to offer managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Hosting On Github
While they have plenty of competition in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name recognition and innovative features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, 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 differ in services offered. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides 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 content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as a whole, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is very important to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, normally with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a different approach. This review 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 “best fit” for. Web Hosting On Github
I have actually utilized WP Engine for numerous jobs because 2012. I do not use them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have an existing customer on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies discussed. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 On Github
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, but the general rule is that the more intricate your website is, the more complicated the services to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a few fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress install.
But a sluggish site does not mean that you require a larger, much better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and enhancing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are aiming to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might just need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires help to remain quick as you grow. There are plenty of solutions … but either you or a designer must execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have personalized servers with incredibly aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and determine the specific chokepoint to get your website moving. Web Hosting On Github
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough information to start packing the page.
It’s good to have that sort of speed right from package, and have it stay that method no matter how big or complex the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are complimentary to concentrate on speed factors that you can easily control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, but they likewise provide international information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting On Github
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 Github
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are actually 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 one of 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 ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough thing about customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever know if the story is due to the fact that 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 treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I like to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all three require an investment of money, time and know-how.
Based upon my current interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site through chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has communicated with really understood the fine workings of WordPress and has actually been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting On Github
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,specifically since their custom-made platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the downsides). However they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That implies 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 very large community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are fairly uncomplicated:
- 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 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that despite the fact that security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something happens. Given that you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a great deal of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they take care of it for free.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have assisted clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a normally expensive scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Web Hosting On Github
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, dependable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting out with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which permit more storage & more visits (ie, generally as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k visits per month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that prices disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup 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 entire month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost income.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or developer time fixing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Hosting On Github
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & design without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing fundamental site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd customer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is an essential element, specifically having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third customer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s special backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website at one time.
They don’t have any previous habits or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make promises and provide support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, numerous of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Hosting On Github
WP Engine excels not just on current features but also on developing new, advanced hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have actually changed drastically since I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to integrate finest practices into implementation & jobs 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine problems around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And lots of stand because they simply aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good fit for some consumers. I do not utilize them for this website because I do not need a lot of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting On Github
All that stated, here are a few of the bigger photo downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be quite made complex– particularly if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can lead to some developers making mistakes varying from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site open up to the public or merely not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they already do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never explain finest practice for the general user. Web Hosting On Github
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to enjoy 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 backend isn’t really going to be a huge deal (as soon as you get past the learning curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site lists to assist repair all sorts of concerns.
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 look after all of it.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically don’t need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Hosting On Github
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They need to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or very genuine physical limitations), but 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 discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit particular plugins & admin habits for good factors, but those restrictions limit versatility and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured allows for less flexibility too. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based on a number of check outs.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to factor extra hosting costs into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site 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 further if your website requires many plugins for full performance.
The very same chooses 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 use case is out.
Furthermore, you can’t really do automatic email marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically paying for performance & not needing to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you truly 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 typically logging in frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Web Hosting On Github
Many shared hosting servers can handle 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 basic caching) handled more than 15,000 sees 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 check outs, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even include much of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra costs & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side projects or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the rate. You can’t use them to expand the cost of your strategy,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is an expensive option, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest overall, but exactly what is finest 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 offer a great service with a strong product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to fret about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see what you consider their backend. Make certain to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more liberty/ better prices than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Web Hosting On Github