WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Reseller
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to supply managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. Web Hosting Reseller
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 ways -and they have broad name recognition and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting market has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all vary in services provided. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress install live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site material + performance.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as a whole, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is very important to understand prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine examines online, typically with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a various technique. This evaluation will 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 Reseller
I’ve utilized WP Engine for various tasks considering that 2012. I do not utilize them for my main sites today (see conclusion), however I do have a current customer on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies pointed out. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying client or specialist to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “spectacular speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” 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 Reseller
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into site speed, however the guideline is that the more complex your website is, the more complicated the services to speed ended up being.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of fundamental plugins and a few small images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting plan from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s normally additional plugins, customized theme files, great deals of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
But a slow site does not indicate that you require a larger, better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, however in some cases it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may just need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to stay fast as you grow. There are lots of services … but either you or a designer must execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have personalized servers with exceptionally aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and identify the specific chokepoint to get your site moving. Web Hosting Reseller
They don’t even allow caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have actually such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, additional scripts, too many 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 information to start loading the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right from package, and have it stay that method no matter how big or intricate the site gets.
*Keep in mind 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 might get with other services considering that you are free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can easily manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, but they likewise provide international information centers in case your audience is mainly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Reseller
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Reseller
Customer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a huge focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of 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 actually 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 said, the difficult aspect of client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever know if the story is due to the fact that they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the important part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all three need a financial investment of cash, time and expertise.
Based on my current interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available everywhere on the site via chat.
Based upon their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has connected with in fact understood the great functions of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, but 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, but he had the ability to adeptly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to taking care of a number of issues (ie, uploading a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Reseller
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support issues,particularly due to the fact that their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the disadvantages). However they seem to know 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 implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, 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 use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine generally 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. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a lot of security issues worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually helped clients who have been. It’s frustrating, tedious & an usually expensive situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security team look after your WordPress set up is a huge pro in my book. Web Hosting Reseller
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and consists of a single install and just as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reliable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are just beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars each month.
Both which permit more storage & more gos to (ie, essentially as lots of as you can manage) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k visits per month on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that pricing downside 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 designer’s) time, their prices is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates every month & QA’ing your installation 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 entire monthly fee right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed problems or downtime costs lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time repairing concerns.
Basically, if your time is better allocated far 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 instead of a cost.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Hosting Reseller
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a fit for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to concentrate on development & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous basic website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second consumer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is an essential factor, especially having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a start-up 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 intend on releasing a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any prior habits 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 provide support to win & keep this kind of consumer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine understands 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, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Web Hosting Reseller
WP Engine stands out not only on existing functions but also on producing brand-new, advanced hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has rolled out brand-new developer features that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually altered drastically given that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web advancement to incorporate finest practices into execution & projects 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are a lot of WP Engine grievances around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And many are valid since they simply aren’t a fit 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 do not utilize them for this site because I do not need many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Reseller
All that said, here are a few of the larger photo disadvantages of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that difference can be rather made complex– particularly if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has actually gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the special backend can result in some designers making mistakes ranging from irritating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website open up to the general public or merely not making it possible for the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I think they ‘d lose more novice clients than they already do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never discuss finest practice for the basic user. Web Hosting Reseller
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to see 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-made backend isn’t going to be a big offer (as soon as you get past the learning curve). However for most, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a plethora of website lists to help 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.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply look after all of it.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Hosting Reseller
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods regards to minimizing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has guidelines (or very genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do ban certain plugins & admin behavior for good factors, however those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not enabled on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured allows for less versatility too. It’s a favorable that they will manage all the traffic you can send out, but it’s likewise pricey to pay based on a number of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or just want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll have to aspect extra hosting costs 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 permit on an Individual or Company. And this point goes further if your site needs lots of plugins for complete performance.
The very same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you can’t really do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up having to do an agonizing migration to another e-mail provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based on features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for performance & not having to think excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually visiting frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. Web Hosting Reseller
Numerous shared hosting servers can deal with the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal site (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 certainly deal with a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be rather a surprise for “little” website owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even include many of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any email from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limitations needs additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to expand the expense of your plan,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are wanting to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, particularly compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, however exactly what is best for you based upon your goals, budget plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they provide an excellent service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they offer more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unequaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to stress over hosting problems.
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 guarantee. So do a test install and see what you think of their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more freedom/ much better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually valued their balance of instinctive backend & responsive customer care.
And finally, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Web Hosting Reseller