WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosting Services
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first companies to offer handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Hosting Services
While they have plenty of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in many methods -and they have broad name recognition and innovative functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting market has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the brief variation: They all vary in services supplied. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater 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 different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as an entire, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is very important to understand before making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, usually with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great but I take a various method. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting options to see who it is a “best fit” for. Web Hosting Services
I’ve used WP Engine for different jobs considering that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary sites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business mentioned. All data & opinion is based upon my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying client.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “stunning speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer 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 Services
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that go into site speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your site is, the more complicated the options to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text website with a few fundamental plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with a cost effective shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
However couple of site owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally extra plugins, custom style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these functions combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress set up.
However a slow site does not mean that you need a larger, much better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching particular 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. Picture your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply have to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to stay quick as you grow. There are a lot of options … however either you or a developer should implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have personalized servers with very aggressive caching as well as more advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress install and determine the precise chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Web Hosting Services
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs due to the fact that they have such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed 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 bloated style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how quickly the server returned enough information to begin loading the page.
It’s nice to have that kind of speed right out of the box, and have it stay that method no matter how big or complex the website gets.
*Note 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 because you are totally free to concentrate on speed aspects that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only offers an incorporated CDN, but they also supply global data centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosting Services
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
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch since they wased established. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a big 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 business has actually grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the difficult aspect of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never understand if the story is because they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company treats support as a financial investment or a cost.
I like to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require a financial investment of cash, time and competence.
Based on my recent interactions and research, they are doing better striking all 3 boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are readily available all over on the website via chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has communicated with in fact knew the fine operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of numerous problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosting Services
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,particularly because their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the whole Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing naturally insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large neighborhood releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security essentials are fairly 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 industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that despite the fact that security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the duty is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt does nothing if you don’t lock it, keeping your website protected is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something takes place. Given that you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they deal with a great deal of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works closely with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they take care of it totally free.
I personally have never been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have assisted clients who have actually been. It’s frustrating, laborious & a normally pricey scenario (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team look after your WordPress install is a big pro in my book. Web Hosting Services
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not inexpensive. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and just approximately 25,000 visits monthly.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trustworthy VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the exact same price from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both of which permit more storage & more sees (ie, essentially as numerous as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k sees each month on a shared server. I’ve likewise run lots of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is incredible.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup 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 entire month-to-month cost right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s entire regular monthly charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime costs lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any individual or developer time fixing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is better designated far from technical issues, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment instead of an expense.
Which sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Web Hosting Services
Like I said 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 clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first consumer 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 plan. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, releases the site, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous basic website maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools consisting of staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is frustrated at having to deal with technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a much better host.
They’re likewise established enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & customer support to make that process occur. The phone support is a crucial element, especially having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd customer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy learning WP Engine’s special backend and intend on releasing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They don’t have any previous practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or sites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this kind of client.
With these types of clients, WP Engine understands how & where they are coming from, many of the enhancements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, etc.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Web Hosting Services
WP Engine stands out not just on existing functions but likewise on developing new, innovative hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out new developer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have actually changed drastically since I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has produced tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web development to integrate best practices into implementation & projects with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everyone. There are plenty of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev sites). And lots of stand since they just 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 customers. I do not utilize them for this site because I do not need much of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosting Services
All that stated, here are some of the larger image drawbacks 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 quite made complex– specifically if you have just enough experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom. It’s absolutely nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting business, they also don’t supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the special backend can lead to some designers making errors ranging from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content concerns to leaving the dev website open to the public or simply not allowing the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice clients than they currently do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you get over the learning curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever explain best practice for the basic user. Web Hosting Services
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I’ve established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to enjoy that video several times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t really going to be a substantial offer (once you surpass the knowing curve). However for a lot 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 ever really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a huge selection of website lists to help repair all sorts of concerns.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons that they do all this. And for the most parts, support will simply take care of all of it.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your website. Sure, you do not technically do not have to get into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Hosting Services
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both ways in terms of minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat consistent.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting company has rules (or very real physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin habits for excellent factors, however those bans limit versatility and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, but on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their prices is structured permits less versatility also. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s also expensive to pay based upon a variety of visits.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal organisation; or simply wish to drive a rise of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Business. And this point goes further if your site requires many plugins for full performance.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you can’t truly do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their prices based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for efficiency & not needing to think excessive about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s rates based upon the features you’re getting, you actually do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and generally logging in often), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Web Hosting Services
Lots of shared hosting servers can manage the same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My personal website (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trusted VPS, you can definitely manage 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” website owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even include much of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limits requires additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the cost. You can’t use them to spread out the expense of your strategy,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are seeking to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, especially compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is finest total, but what is best for you based on your goals, budget, resources & practices.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they provide a great service with a solid item. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t want to fret about hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go take a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test set up and see exactly what you think of their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more flexibility/ much better costs than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer care.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Web Hosting Services