WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Options
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to provide managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Hosting Options
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 ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting industry has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short variation: They all vary in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as a whole, they all take on standard shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is necessary to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, normally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great 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 choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Hosting Options
I’ve used WP Engine for different projects considering that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their discount 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 Options
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complex your site is, the more complex the options to speed become.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text site with a few basic plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be great with an inexpensive shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom-made theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish site doesn’t indicate that you require a larger, much better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, but often it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might just 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 fast as you grow. There are a lot of options … but either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have customized servers with very aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a normal web host. They likewise have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and identify the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. Web Hosting Options
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough data to start packing the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right from package, and have it remain that way no matter how huge or intricate the website gets.
*Note 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 considering that you are totally free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an incorporated CDN, however they likewise offer global information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Options
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Options
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are truly selling 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:
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 great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough aspect of consumer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never understand if the story is because they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I want to search for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require a financial investment of loan, time and competence.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the site through chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has engaged with actually understood the great functions of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, however he had the ability to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of several problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Options
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly since their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll show in the downsides). But they seem to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very 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 two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something happens. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a lot of security problems globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have actually helped customers who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a typically pricey scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. Web Hosting Options
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the same cost from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both of which permit more storage & more visits (ie, essentially as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k visits each month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes monthly. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire month-to-month fee right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost 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 individual or designer time repairing issues.
Basically, if your time is better designated far 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 an investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Hosting Options
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first customer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on development & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing standard website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing website owner who is irritated at having to deal with technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a much better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a key element, especially being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a startup site owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on releasing a near-complete site all at once.
They do not have any prior habits or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, so many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this review revision. Web Hosting Options
WP Engine stands out not only on current features however also on developing new, innovative hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new designer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have altered radically because I started observing the market *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand sufficient web advancement to integrate best practices into implementation & 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 everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And lots of are valid since they just aren’t a fit 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 because I do not need many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Options
All that stated, here are some of the bigger picture disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To attain the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be rather complicated– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the distinct backend can cause some designers making errors varying from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content problems to leaving the dev website available to the general public or merely not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more novice clients than they currently do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the basic user. Web Hosting Options
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made 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 right IP address.
Once again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (as soon as you get past the learning curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of site checklists to help troubleshoot 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.
Once again– they have reasons that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will just look after all of it.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Hosting Options
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to specify exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin behavior for great factors, but those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your site could handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized sites, 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 available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured enables less versatility as well. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise expensive to pay based on a number of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor 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 site on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Service. And this point goes further if your site needs many plugins for complete performance.
The same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you can’t really 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 e-mail service provider 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 generally spending for performance & not needing to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the functions you’re getting, you really don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually logging in often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Hosting Options
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even include many of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires extra expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a costly option, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest overall, but exactly what is finest for you based upon your goals, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use an excellent service with a solid item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to fret about hosting problems.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see exactly what you consider their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & desire more flexibility/ much better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these aspects into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Web Hosting Options