WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Questionnaire
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to supply handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Hosting Questionnaire
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name recognition and innovative functions.
With the growth 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 variation: They all vary in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as an entire, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is very important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a various method. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Hosting Questionnaire
I’ve used WP Engine for different jobs since 2012. I don’t use them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a present client on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class client service.” 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 Questionnaire
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complex your website is, the more intricate the solutions to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a couple of basic plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically additional plugins, custom theme files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, kinds and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
However a sluggish website does not indicate that you require a larger, better server. It does mean that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, but in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Picture your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may just need to remove the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to remain fast as you grow. There are lots of options … however either you or a developer must execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed issues. They have personalized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and recognize the specific chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Web Hosting Questionnaire
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs because they have such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well 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 theme, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to start loading the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right from the box, and have it stay that way no matter how huge or complicated the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are complimentary to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly manage like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an incorporated CDN, but they also provide international information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Questionnaire
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Questionnaire
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has 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, but you never ever understand 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 evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to try to find access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need a financial investment of loan, time and proficiency.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing far better hitting all three boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site by means of chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has actually communicated with actually knew the great functions of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly help us “turn 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 Questionnaire
I make sure that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically since their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the downsides). But they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
But there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security essentials are fairly straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that although security on WordPress is simple, 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 website secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something happens. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they take on a great deal of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it free of charge.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have assisted customers who have been. It’s aggravating, tiresome & a generally expensive situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Web Hosting Questionnaire
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and only approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same rate 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 each month.
Both which enable more storage & more sees (ie, basically as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k visits each month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole monthly fee right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month charge 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 fee 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 problems.
Essentially, if your time is much better allocated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually 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 focus on their core markets. Web Hosting Questionnaire
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t for everyone. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on development & style without handling hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev constructs the website straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for an ongoing fundamental site upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at having to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a much better host.
They’re likewise established 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 an essential element, especially being able to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a startup website owner that has the budget plan and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any previous routines or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this kind of customer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, numerous of the improvements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Hosting Questionnaire
WP Engine excels not just on existing functions but also on producing brand-new, advanced hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has rolled out new designer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have altered radically considering that I started observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to incorporate best practices into application & 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
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And lots of are valid due to the fact that they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some clients. I don’t utilize them for this site because I do not require a number of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Questionnaire
All that said, here are some of the bigger image disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. Which difference can be quite complicated– especially if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they likewise don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the unique backend can lead to some designers making errors varying from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev website available to the public or merely not enabling the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they already do.
Like lots of custom platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever describe best practice for the basic user. Web Hosting Questionnaire
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I needed to watch that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (as soon as you surpass the knowing curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website checklists to assist 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.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply look after it all.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not need to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. Web Hosting Questionnaire
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or very genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban specific plugins & admin habits for great reasons, however those bans limit adaptability and experimentation if your site might handle it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured enables less adaptability also. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, but it’s also costly to pay based upon a number of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, 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 Service. And this point goes even more if your site requires lots of plugins for complete performance.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you can’t truly do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up needing to do a painful migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
Either way, 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 typically paying for performance & not needing to believe too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Web Hosting Questionnaire
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal site (operating on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, but it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even include a lot of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires additional costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test websites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to expand the expense of your strategy,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are aiming to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is an expensive option, especially compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, but what is finest for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & habits.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a great service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for smart DIYers, WordPress website designers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to worry about hosting concerns.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more liberty/ better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these aspects into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Web Hosting Questionnaire