WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Plans
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first business to provide handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Hosting Plans
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and cutting-edge functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short version: They all vary in services provided. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + performance.
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 take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting alternatives.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is necessary to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a different method. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Hosting Plans
I have actually utilized WP Engine for numerous jobs considering that 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a present client on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or specialist to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically 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 Plans
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, but the general rule is that the more complicated your website is, the more intricate the options to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is fairly lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a few standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with an affordable shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually extra plugins, custom-made style files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish site does not imply that you need a bigger, much better server. It does mean that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more effective server, however in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a particular order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Picture you are attempting to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may simply need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to stay quickly as you grow. There are lots of options … but either you or a developer must execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have customized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common web host. They also have actually trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and recognize the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Web Hosting Plans
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have such a tailored caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up 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 customers on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to start packing the page.
It’s great to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that method no matter how big or intricate the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services given that you are free to focus on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, but they likewise provide worldwide data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Plans
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Plans
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they were founded. After all, they are actually selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good 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 since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard feature of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is since they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three need a financial investment of cash, time and know-how.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website by means of chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually interacted with in fact knew the great workings 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 customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to adeptly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of numerous problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Plans
I make certain that WP Engine still has support issues,specifically since their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). But they appear to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a huge neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress set up, the security basics are relatively 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 industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website protected is still eventually 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 everything off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a lot of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have assisted customers who have been. It’s discouraging, tiresome & a normally expensive situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Web Hosting Plans
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, dependable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars monthly.
Both which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, basically as many as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k gos to per month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & consider your very own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes each 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 gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month 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 might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or designer time fixing issues.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Hosting Plans
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the very first client type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on development & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have clients who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous standard site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical development headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & client support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a key aspect, especially having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a start-up website owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and plan on launching a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any prior practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these types of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, numerous of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this review modification. Web Hosting Plans
WP Engine excels not only on existing functions but likewise on developing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new developer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually altered significantly because I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to integrate finest practices into implementation & tasks with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous stand due to the fact that they merely aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some customers. I do not use them for this website since I do not require much of their functions and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Plans
All that said, here are some of the larger photo downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be rather complicated– especially if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the unique backend can lead to some designers making errors ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev site available to the public or merely not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for remarkable support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever discuss finest practice for the basic user. Web Hosting Plans
Here is their video on pushing your site live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to see that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a huge deal (when you surpass the knowing curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of site checklists to assist fix all sorts of problems.
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 most of the times, support will simply take care of everything.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Hosting Plans
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They have to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit more to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage rates to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban specific plugins & admin behavior for excellent factors, but those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured allows for less flexibility as well. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise costly to pay based on a number of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal organisation; or just wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element additional hosting expenses 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 handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes even more if your site needs many plugins for complete functionality.
The same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
In addition, you can’t actually do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up having to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for efficiency & not having to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you really do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Web Hosting Plans
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) handled more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 monthly tier.
And as pointed out earlier that does not even consist of much of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits needs additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly 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 rate. You can’t use them to spread out the expense of your strategy,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are planning to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is an expensive alternative, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest total, but exactly what is best for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a solid product. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to fret about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see exactly what you think about their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more liberty/ much better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I’ve valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Web Hosting Plans