WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Questions To Ask
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to supply handled hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Hosting Questions To Ask
While they have lots of competitors in both the basic hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting market has become a super-confusing location.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all vary in services supplied. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website material + 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 standard shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it’s important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, usually with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and individual experience. That’s fine but I take a various technique. This evaluation will take a 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 To Ask
I’ve used WP Engine for numerous jobs considering that 2012. I do not utilize them for my primary websites today (see conclusion), however I do have a current 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 business mentioned. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying client or specialist to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” 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 Questions To Ask
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complex your site is, the more complex the solutions to speed become.
Out of the box, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text website with a couple of fundamental plugins and a few small images, you’ll be fine with a cost effective shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally extra plugins, customized style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these functions combined with good levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
However a sluggish site doesn’t imply that you need a larger, better server. It does indicate that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, however sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a particular order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may just need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to remain fast as you grow. There are lots of options … but either you or a designer need to implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have customized servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a common web host. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and determine the precise chokepoint to get your website moving. Web Hosting Questions To Ask
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform due to the fact that their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, among other things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how quickly the server returned enough information to start packing the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that method no matter how big or complicated the site gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are totally free to concentrate on speed elements that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an integrated CDN, but they likewise supply worldwide information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Questions To Ask
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 To Ask
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that 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 huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my 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 & 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 aspect of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never ever understand if the story is due to the fact that they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the vital part is to see if a business treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to look for access, systems, and understanding, all three require an investment of money, time and knowledge.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They keep a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site through chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has connected with really understood the great operations of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Questions To Ask
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly since their custom platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). However they seem to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That indicates that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However 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 very large community releasing 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 industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially 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 occurs. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a great deal of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have helped clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, tedious & an usually pricey circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Web Hosting Questions To Ask
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single install and only as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both of which enable more storage & more gos to (ie, basically as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k visits monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of small WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is remarkable.
Just running WordPress updates monthly & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes monthly. 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 sees due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that might be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole monthly charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or designer time fixing concerns.
Generally, if your time is better assigned away from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Hosting Questions To Ask
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first client type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can ensure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous fundamental website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has fascinating tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing site owner who is irritated at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some spending plan for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that process happen. The phone support is an essential factor, particularly having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a start-up site owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on launching a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any previous routines or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make promises and supply support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, numerous of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, etc.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s really worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Hosting Questions To Ask
WP Engine stands out not just on current features however also on creating new, innovative hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new designer features that WP Engine has actually had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have changed significantly considering that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to incorporate best practices into application & jobs with developers.
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 fit for everyone. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many are valid due to the fact that they just aren’t a suitable for everybody. 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 website since I do not need many of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Questions To Ask
All that stated, here are a few of the larger picture downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be rather made complex– particularly if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they also don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the distinct backend can cause some designers making errors varying from annoying redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website open to the public or simply not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more beginner customers than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever explain best practice for the general user. Web Hosting Questions To Ask
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of websites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting sites, however I had to enjoy that video numerous 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 customized backend isn’t really going to be a huge deal (as soon as you get past the learning curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never truly stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of site lists to help repair 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 they do all this. And most of the times, support will just look after all of it.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not need to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Hosting Questions To Ask
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of decreasing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather uniform.
They have to have predictable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or really real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage prices to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin behavior for great reasons, but those restrictions limit flexibility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, however on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured allows for less flexibility also. It’s a favorable that they will handle all the traffic you can send out, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based on a number of sees.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal business; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your site, you’ll need to factor additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish 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 numerous plugins for complete functionality.
The very same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot truly do automated e-mail marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got required & ended up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
Either way, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not needing to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you really do not get a great deal.
And if you are the type who will consider your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and typically logging in often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is superfluous. Web Hosting Questions To Ask
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) handled more than 15,000 sees in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reliable VPS, you can certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as mentioned earlier that does not even include many of the functions you don’t 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 extra costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the cost. You can’t utilize them to expand the cost of your strategy,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are looking to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is an expensive option, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, but exactly what is best for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they use a great service with a strong product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to stress over hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see what you think about their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your present host & want more freedom/ much better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually valued their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer service.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to streamline things. Web Hosting Questions To Ask