WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Questions And Answers
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first business to provide handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Hosting Questions And Answers
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site builders, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all differ in services provided. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not really buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides 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 alternatives, however as a whole, they all compete with traditional 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 reviews online, typically with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a different technique. This review will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Hosting Questions And Answers
I’ve used WP Engine for various tasks considering that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main sites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a present customer on WP Engine who absolutely enjoys them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business mentioned. All information & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer care.” 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 Questions And Answers
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into website speed, but the guideline is that the more complex your site is, the more complex the solutions to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text website with a couple of standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually extra plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish website doesn’t suggest that you require a bigger, better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. In some cases it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, however sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and optimizing your files. Simply puts, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you might simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain fast as you grow. There are a lot of services … however either you or a designer should implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually tailored servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and identify the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Web Hosting Questions And Answers
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional 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 begin loading the page.
It’s nice to have that kind of speed right out of package, and have it remain that method no matter how big or complex the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services considering that you are complimentary to concentrate on speed factors that you can quickly control like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an integrated CDN, but they likewise offer global information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Questions And Answers
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Questions And Answers
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a huge 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 company has grown & altered a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough feature of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never know if the story is since they talked 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 business deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I want to look for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of cash, time and expertise.
Based on my current interactions and research study, they are doing better hitting all 3 boxes. They maintain a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are offered all over on the website 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 connected with really knew the great operations of WordPress and has actually had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine during my customer’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of a number of concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Questions And Answers
I make certain that WP Engine still has support problems,especially since their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). However they seem to know that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security basics 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 utilize JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website secure 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 whatever off-site & all set to roll back if something happens. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they tackle a great deal of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), however have helped clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a generally expensive circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group take care of your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Web Hosting Questions And Answers
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, dependable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which permit more storage & more check outs (ie, basically as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have actually had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I have actually also run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your own (or your developer’s) time, their prices is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates each 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 entire regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly 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 individual or developer time repairing problems.
Essentially, if your time is much better assigned far from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are a financial 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 Questions And Answers
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of customers that WP Engine appears 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 process, the first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev constructs the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the website, then hands the website over to their client.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine deals with the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing standard site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at having to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to transfer to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a key aspect, especially having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third client type is a startup site owner that has the budget and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on launching a near-complete site simultaneously.
They do not have any previous habits or customs brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this type of client.
With these types of consumers, 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), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this review modification. Web Hosting Questions And Answers
WP Engine excels not just on existing functions however also on developing brand-new, innovative hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented new designer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to integrate.
Even general web advancement finest practices have actually altered radically given that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to incorporate best practices into execution & jobs with developers.
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
Similar to any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And numerous are valid due to the fact that they merely aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some consumers. I do not use them for this site since I do not require a lot of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Questions And Answers
All that stated, here are a few of the larger photo downsides 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 difference can be rather complicated– particularly if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the distinct backend can lead to some developers making mistakes ranging from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content issues to leaving the dev website open up to the public or just not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more novice customers than they already do.
Like lots of custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe best practice for the general user. Web Hosting Questions And Answers
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually established my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to view that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a big deal (as soon as you surpass the learning curve). But for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never actually stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website lists to help troubleshoot all sorts of issues.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in most cases, support will just look after everything.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Hosting Questions And Answers
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s unique 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; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or really real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, but those restrictions restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For example, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured permits less adaptability too. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise pricey to pay based on a variety of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal business; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll have to element extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would enable on a Personal or Business. And this point goes even more if your site needs lots of plugins for complete performance.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Furthermore, you cannot really do automatic e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another email supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their rates based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally paying for efficiency & not needing to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Hosting Questions And Answers
Numerous shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) managed more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 per month tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even include many of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional 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 sites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t use them to spread out the expense of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are planning to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a costly choice, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, however what is best for you based upon your objectives, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to stress over hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you think about their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more freedom/ better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive client service.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Web Hosting Questions And Answers