WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Services Jobs
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) first companies to supply managed hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Hosting Services Jobs
While they have plenty of competition in both the general hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and site contractors, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief version: They all vary in services offered. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And after that there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater cost point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + functionality.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, but as an entire, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting alternatives.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, but it is very important to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, generally with user-generated reviews based on 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 web hosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Hosting Services Jobs
I’ve utilized WP Engine for numerous jobs considering that 2012. I do not use them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any business discussed. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer support.” Here is their promo pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Web Hosting Services Jobs
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, however the guideline is that the more complicated your website is, the more intricate the solutions to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a mostly text website with a few fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s typically additional plugins, customized theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
But a sluggish site doesn’t imply that you need a larger, better server. It does suggest that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more effective server, but sometimes it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. 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 consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to remain quickly as you grow. There are lots of options … however either you or a designer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (almost) all speed issues. They have customized servers with very aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a common web host. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and identify the exact chokepoint to get your site moving. Web Hosting Services Jobs
They do not even allow caching plugins on their installs since they have such a customized caching setup.
The interesting thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, among other things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to begin filling the page.
It’s nice to have that sort of speed right from the box, and have it remain that method no matter how big or complex the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even 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 control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just offers an incorporated CDN, however they likewise provide international data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Services Jobs
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosting Services Jobs
Customer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, handled hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to place a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & altered 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 hard thing about consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is because they talked to 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 business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to search for gain access to, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need a financial investment of cash, time and expertise.
Based upon my recent interactions and research study, they are doing far better striking all three boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the website via chat.
Based upon their tutorial videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has engaged with really knew the fine operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly help us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after numerous problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Services Jobs
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically because their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). However they appear to understand that support is core to their worth and do make the required financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Web. That suggests that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software. WordPress has the advantage of being open-source with a huge neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials are fairly uncomplicated:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that even though security on WordPress is simple, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your site protected is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine basically takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Considering that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security problems globally 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 guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have helped clients who have been. It’s aggravating, laborious & a normally costly circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Web Hosting Services Jobs
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just as much as 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, reliable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same price from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
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 had 60k sees monthly on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that prices drawback in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your own (or your developer’s) time, their pricing is fantastic.
Just 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 entire monthly fee right there.
If you lose any sees due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee 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 could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost income.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any personal or developer time repairing issues.
Generally, if your time is much better allocated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Hosting Services Jobs
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine seems to be a suitable 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 very first customer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to concentrate on development & style without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev builds the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at needing to deal with technical growth headaches. They’ve outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a crucial factor, specifically being able to “just 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-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any prior practices or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make pledges and supply support to win & keep this type of customer.
With these kinds of clients, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming 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 advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this review revision. Web Hosting Services Jobs
WP Engine stands out not just on current features but likewise on developing brand-new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has been able to integrate.
Even general web development finest practices have altered significantly given that I started observing the market *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know sufficient web development to incorporate best practices into execution & tasks 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
Much like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And numerous stand since they merely aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some clients. I don’t utilize them for this website since I do not need much of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Services Jobs
All that said, here are some of the larger picture downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. Which distinction can be quite made complex– especially if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still custom. It’s nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting business, they also do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the unique backend can cause some developers making mistakes ranging from annoying redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open to the general public or just not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie customers than they currently do.
Like numerous customized platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never describe finest practice for the basic user. Web Hosting Services Jobs
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I have actually set up my share of websites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to enjoy that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a huge deal (as soon as you get past the learning curve). But for a lot of, you’ll likely get to learn first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
But here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever actually stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of site checklists to assist fix 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.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And most of the times, support will simply look after all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter 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 recognize. Web Hosting Services Jobs
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is also connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or very genuine physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit more to define what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to discourage seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, however those bans limit flexibility and experimentation if your site might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sized sites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their rates is structured permits less adaptability also. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise expensive to pay based upon a number of gos to.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to factor additional hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile 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 permit on an Individual or Service. And this point goes further if your site needs lots of plugins for complete functionality.
The exact same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you can’t really do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up needing to do an unpleasant migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based on functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally spending for efficiency & not needing to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s rates based on the features you’re getting, you really do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your website’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally visiting often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Hosting Services Jobs
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) handled more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a reputable VPS, you can definitely manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed previously that doesn’t even consist of much of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any email from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limits requires extra expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to expand the expense of your strategy,specifically if you are striking your visitor cap rather than your set up cap.
If you are planning to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & dish out your website files, WP Engine is a costly option, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, however exactly what is best for you based upon your objectives, spending plan, resources & habits.
If you are in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a terrific service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they offer more features than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t wish to fret about hosting issues.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test install and see exactly what you think of their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more flexibility/ much better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I have actually appreciated their balance of instinctive backend & responsive client service.
And finally, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Web Hosting Services Jobs